Mama Bitcoin is a pseudonym claimed by a young Senegalese Bitcoiner named Bineta. Her company, Bleu comme la mer, became the first merchant in Senegal (and possibly West Africa) to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment. She is also the first generation in her family to read and write well.
The name Mama Bitcoin is inspired by her initials, while “Mom” not only reflects her maternal instincts, but also inspires other women in West Africa to embrace blockchain technology and Bitcoin (BTC). She told Cointelegraph:
“There are very few women working in blockchain in the world and the situation in Senegal is no different. I wanted to shed light on how to be a woman in the crypto industry.”
Bineta first stumbled upon Bitcoin in early 2017 through a strange mixture of good intentions and unfavorable circumstances. Benita dreamed of opening his first rural bakery, a small fishing village called Mbour, 90 minutes south of the Senegalese capital, Dakar. But in order to deliver hot chocolate to the residents every morning, Bennett needed money.
Mbour village beach, Senegal
Getting a bank loan for a business idea in West Africa is very difficult, even more difficult for women. Binet had to look for alternative means. I tried Multi Level Marketing (MLM) before hearing from a friend in Cameroon that Bitcoin can do the trick.
After extensive research, Binet’s curiosity worked. I quickly realized that Bitcoin was far more important to her vision than the potentially risky MLM scheme. Fast forward to mid-2017, when Mama Bitcoin spent hours consuming Bitcoin-related content in French and English, translating where possible.
I came to the conclusion that Bitcoin is more than just a “surge” technology – it can build a lot more than just a new village bakery:
“The more I learn, the more I realize that we need it. This kind of money will help to overcome many problems. Bitcoin is not only a tool for freedom, but the technology that underpins Bitcoin as a blockchain and decentralization will transform the development of Africa.”
Traveling the Bitcoin rabbit hole accelerated Bineta’s plans. The bakery shuts down (Bineta jokes that Bitcoin Boulangerie will be called) and the vision for Bitcoin in West Africa has emerged.
As the price of Bitcoin surged and climbed during the 2017 bull run, her understanding of the protocol evolved.
“Bitcoin is not just a way to self-finance without the use of a bank, it is a technological revolution and a way to ensure growth and development in Senegal.”
Questions such as “Why is it so big, but why are so few Senegalese talking about it, why is the media avoiding this critical topic, why doesn’t Senegal use this tool, and why are so few women talking about it?” She kept spinning in her head.
Bineta started, wrote articles about Bitcoin on social media, reached out to the Senegalese Bitcoin and Crypto community, and redefined their goals.
Based on previous experience in business and Senegal’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Benita allowed himself to dream big. It was conceived and then created an ambitious coastal operation called Bleu comme la Mer.
Bleu comme la mer is a fishing market that connects fishermen directly with consumers and eliminates the middleman. It is the first company in Senegal to accept Bitcoin as a payment method. They also accept Ethereum (ETH) and Tezos (XTZ). In fact, my mom founded the Bitcoin Tezos community in West Africa.
Sardines, shrimp, squid and cuttlefish – all that can be caught in the Atlantic Ocean – are available for purchase in cryptocurrency on the platform. Bineta adds:
“Cryptocurrency payments show that, contrary to popular belief, Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment solution and not a speculative resource.”
Bineta shows a potential buyer how to buy fish with cryptocurrency. Source: Mama Bitcoin
The vision of the blockchain goes beyond just paying with cryptocurrency. Bineta focused on making Bleu comme la Mer a decentralized e-commerce platform where fishermen record their catch and consumers can see exactly what has been caught and where it has been caught.
The decentralized platform aims not only to improve the fishing industry, but also to combat overfishing, a harmful but common phenomenon in West African waters.