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Author Topic: Let's market BitCoins where there's an opportunity.  (Read 1381 times)
Zerbie
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May 22, 2011, 04:12:49 AM
 #1

Hi all,

I just finished reading Jeff Hester's article about BitCoins entitled [url http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/21/the-bitcoin-experiment/]"Make.Money.Slow : The Bitcoin Experiment"[/url].  While he did not have a lot of good things to say about BitCoins, he did highlight a potential opportunity for BitCoins.

"…but the developing world is another matter. Consider Zimbabwe, recently plagued by hyperinflation so rampant that when I was last there prices doubled every few weeks and gasoline could only be purchased on the black market with hard currency. They’ve since given up and simply adopted foreign currency wholesale. Meanwhile, mobile electronic payments are taking off in a big way all over sub-Saharan Africa. It isn’t much of a stretch to imagine Zimbabwe in ten years’ time—or a whole group of developing nations with a history of crippling inflation—adopting a new currency that is independent, incorruptible, and anti-inflationary by design. In short, something a whole lot like Bitcoin. No, it isn’t the future, but it just may point the way."

What do you think?  BitCoin is no where near 100% inflation per week.  It is more like 50% per year at the moment.  Does anyone have IP maps of where BitCoin mining is happening, or does anyone have contacts in Zimbabwe?  I cannot get a feel for the infrastructure in this country.  Are smart phones?  Are online computers readily available?

If Zimbabwe is not a good target, let's keep our eye's open for any other countries that may need an currency replacement.  We may also find friends in South American countries that are attempting to ward off IMF and the Federal Reserve.

Edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation - List recent problems with hyperinflation.
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bittrader
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May 22, 2011, 04:34:12 AM
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I think it's a great idea, but there are still some hurdles in the way of widespread adoption of Bitcoin in places like that. For example, right now in order to even get any BTC, you have to jump through lots of hoops. E.g., have a bank account, then open a Dwolla account, then transfer money to Dwolla, then open a Mt. Gox account, then transfer money to Mt. Gox, then buy your BTC and transfer to your wallet. Or alternately, you could have a PayPal account, then jump on IRC and find someone willing to trade you BTC for a PayPal transfer. These kinds of entry barriers would probably be prohibitive to people in places like Zimbabwe.

Of course if we had contacts living in Zimbabwe, perhaps it would be easier. Maybe someone living there could introduce a system like Bitbills so even people without Internet access could own and use BTC.
Basiley
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May 22, 2011, 04:36:43 AM
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thats why really global and all/anywhere-reaching internet access was critical for BTC future.
ie something like Teledisc project, for example.
Sawzall
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May 22, 2011, 05:04:45 PM
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I believe cellphones are frequently used for banking and money transfers in Africa via some sort of SMS-based system.
The phones are mostly feature phones, so the bitcoin client will not work on the phone itself due to the bandwidth and memory required (mostly for the block chain).
However, something like MyBitcoin coupled with a local currency exchange could work.
I'm gonna read this and get a better idea how to do this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_banking
Timo Y
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May 22, 2011, 05:19:41 PM
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Quote
It’s an elegant and disruptive solution desperately looking for a problem.

I fully agree with that.

So were electricity, the automobile, and the internet shortly after they were invented.

GPG ID: FA868D77   bitcoin-otc:forever-d
Sawzall
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May 22, 2011, 05:32:42 PM
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So most methods (other than relying on the user to send SMS himself) require software on the phone and probably the cooperation of the carrier.
bittrader
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May 22, 2011, 07:42:58 PM
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Even non-smartphones often come with a simple browser. I wonder if data services are common with cell phone plans in countries like that.
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