How Senegalese are adopting Bitcoin to escape their post-colonial economy

In 1994, the International Monetary Fund pressured
Senegal into a devastating decision, one you've Probably never heard of. They cut the value of the West African franc
in half. Today, West Africans are looking for ways
to escape the chokehold of European monetary Colonialism. I am in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal. Here you can use Bitcoin to pay in some restaurants,
bars and even tattoo shops. Or you can simply trade peer-to-peer with
other Bitcoiners like this guy I met on the beach. I'm going to give you $3, okay? Boom. You just received $3. You get back on? I'm Joe Hall, a reporter for Cointelegraph. I travel around the world to document the
adoption of Bitcoin and crypto. Here's how Senegal is on its way to building
a Bitcoin economy that could provide financial Freedom from its European colonizers. You may have heard Senegal pop up on the crypto
radar a couple of years ago when the American Singer Akon announced his plan to build a
Crypto City there. Futuristic place called Akon City. Akon City. Akon City, tell me about this. While Akon City has remained a pipe dream,
Bitcoin adoption in Dakar has been growing rapidly. Senegal is a fertile ground for Bitcoin adoption
for a number of reasons. First, people here are very familiar with
cashless transactions. Just look at this map. Senegal is no stranger to mobile money, and
it's a popular payment option. 71% of adults sent money via mobile phone
in the last 30 days. So it's just like mobile money. And it's going to go from my wallet to your
wallet like that, just tap pay and beam. You just received it in three, two, one. Africa Internet. Senegal internet is good. Okay, so you want to show that to the camera? That beam.

Another reason is demographics. Senegal's population is incredibly young. That means people here are digitally native
or open to technological innovation. The beautiful part of Africa is they have
youth, man. Over 50%-60% of the population is youth, and
the youth is on internet watching: "Oh, what is this? What is this?" The Senegalese are turning to Bitcoin as a better Alternative to their local currency. The West African franc is used in 13 countries
besides Senegal. It is printed in France, pegged to the euro,
and its monetary policy is controlled by Western powers. Not exactly the definition of monetary sovereignty,
right? In 1994, the World Bank devalued the West
African franc against the French franc by 100%. That year, the Senegalese woke up one day
to realize the value of their life savings Had been slashed in half. Bitcoin adoption faces substantial challenges
in Senegal. One of them is the lack of basic infrastructure. Basic infrastructure and some sort of public
goods that need to be financed, that need To be built like reliable internet. You know, a farmer in Senegal might not have
reliable Internet. Another hurdle that Bitcoin adoption must
overcome is this wave of crypto-related frauds That occur in the country and across Africa. Many people here still associate Bitcoin with
scams. So you have a lot of scammers here. You have a lot of people that have some Ponzi
schemes. They rob them every day. But why are Bitcoin-related scams so widespread
in Senegal? One answer could be the country's low literacy
levels, which restrict people's abilities To discern and safely use crypto. This is why education has become a top priority
for the local Bitcoin community. So we just set up the Bitcoin Senegal community. I was the first one. So we decided to raise our voice and to go
and to talk to people. In our first image on clubhouse, we were maybe
3 or 4, but I kept going two sessions per Week, then one session per week because we
used to have 10, 20, sometimes we would have

100 of people. They just come here and listen. After that we decided to make some videos
on YouTube. So you can be at your home. If you look for Bitcoin in Senegal, you won't
see anything like trading or how to get rich, etc. Just the philosophy: what is Bitcoin? And we also did some technical videos of how
to set up a Bitcoin node, how to set up a Lightning node. You know, we did a lot. Thinking about it, we did a lot of things
about education here. Bitcoin conferences are the perfect place
to spread the Bitcoin message. Here I am at Dakar Bitcoin Days, one of the
very first Pan-African Bitcoin events where Activists are teaching people the basic principles of money, finance and Bitcoin. A broken monetary system and a young digitally Native population — these are the perfect
conditions for Bitcoin adoption to thrive. Education and investments in infrastructure
are among the final jigsaw pieces of the puzzle, Which could transform Senegal into the main
Bitcoin hub of West Africa. And who knows, if successful, Senegal could
inspire more African countries to explore Bitcoin as a tool for financial empowerment
and emancipation from their colonial past. This has been Joe Hall reporting for Cointelegraph.

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