So the crypto space has been understandably quiet of late. RBZ made sure they put an end to that earlier this year. In the world as well the first phase of hype has also died down. Bitcoin prices have now settled down as well and there’s generally less hype.
Zimcoin is launching their own Bitcoin exchange that allows you to buy and sell Bitcoin. This is similar to the approach taken by Golix when they started out as BitFinance. Starting with Bitcoin makes sense for a couple of reasons. It’s the most popular cryptocurrency by quite a margin and because this is the case, even countries such as our own which have small populations can have businesses take-off on the back of the crypto. You can sign up on their platform.
For Zimcoin, however, Bitcoin is a familiar entry point and they are actually really interested in the blockchain world at large. They offer consultancy on blockchain and a statement on their website acknowledges the fact that Bitcoin is the gateway to a much larger project:
At Zimcoin we want to provide Zimbabweans with access to the new decentralised internet. As many of you know already Bitcoin acts as a gateway to all the exciting projects happening in the cryptocurrency and blockchain world. Whether you want to engage with the prediction markets of Augur or invest in the Decentralised Autonomous Organistaion Decred, Bitcoin is a great starting point. Here at Zimcoin, we provide a platform to buy and sell Bitcoin, as well as a place to find out about the blockchain projects we are excited about. So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and become a pioneer in Zimbabwe’s love affair with Blockchain.
Will Zimcoin be more secure than Golix?
Throughout the time that Golix was operating in Zim they were plagued by minor incidences of security breaches and scares and it seems that Zimcoin is trying to avoid that from day one. They have already implemented two-factor authentication from day one which Golix only implemented a few years after operating.
One thing I like about Zimcoin’s 2FA is that you’re given two options; an email or using Google Authenticator. Though the email is less secure than Google authenticator, you are not forced to have to download a separate application. When Golix implemented Google Authenticator I was practically locked out of my account because I didn’t have space to download the authenticator app on my phone.
The exchange also timeout’s after a period of inactivity which means incidents such as someone getting access to your computer because you’ve gone out are also unlikely as well.
And the RBZ?
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. In May the RBZ decided that cryptos were illegal and Golix felt the full force of this ban. Within a week they no longer had access to their bank accounts and a bloodbath ensued. Golix took the central bank to court, won interim relief but things have never been the same for what was and to an extent still is Zimbabwe’s largest crypto exchange. People’s funds never really made it out of the exchange and Golix have become much harder to reach.
In our communications with Zimcoin they were not overly concerned by this ban and in fact they informed us that they had been in communication with the RBZ since last year and they feel that they will be able to operate without any trouble. We will be getting in touch with the RBZ to hear what the exact position is.
Whether customers will feel safe actually using the service is another thing entirely. If the RBZ is to actually let this slide and allow Zimcoin to operate (as Zimcoin itself believes), I think the numbers will steadily rise once people feel they can actually trust another crypto exchange with their money and the Reserve Bank won’t actually interfere.
“What about the economy”
It’s impossible to talk about any products that are heavy on finance without acknowledging that Zim’s economy has descended into chaos over the last few months. When Bitcoin became a global phenomenon it’s not like Zimbabwe was in a rosy place but it’s certainly worsened and the forex taps have dried out pretty quickly. Zimcoin is launching into the market at time like this and in the short term, I think it may affect the growth of their user base. Cryptos appealed to a certain crowd last year and I’m certain that crowd has been affected by i) lack of forex, ii) RBZ ban and iii) Golix’s disappearing act.
I think that’s the biggest challenge that Zimcoin faces. After what happened with Golix it will take time to build up a user base as long the crypto sector is unregulated. We are creatures of habits and after being burnt I’m not sure how many people will put their hands on that stove again.