Nuru is a 29-year-old Bitcoin writer who dreams of his homeland. A former financial analyst at a French bank, he founded Bitcoin Senegal in late 2021.
After an eight-year residency in France, where Nuru had a master’s degree, a Bitcoin Chaincode qualification and a deep understanding of traditional financial markets through his work in investment finance, he was ready to eat an orange in Senegal.
He returned home in dismay after learning that Coinmap (a website that lists bitcoin sellers and traders worldwide) does not have a presence in Senegal. This is despite singer and influencer Akon’s plans to create Akon City in crypto style.
Intrigued by bitcoin and knowing that the idea of a “Bitcoin Beach” in El Salvador would eventually lead to the first country to accept bitcoin as legal tender, the 29-year-old was inspired to try something similar in his hometown.
Since arriving in Dakar, the westernmost capital of Africa, Nuru has made progress. In addition to founding Bitcoin Senegal, it has hosted over 18 Bitcoin education lectures, as well as two restaurants, a toy store, a surf camp, and several local vendors. All this within six weeks.
The Current Situation of Bitcoin Traders in Dakar, According to Coinmap
He focused on 20 restaurants that would accept bitcoin by July 2022, right before he finished writing the first Senegal-owned bitcoin exchange from scratch. The exchange will compete with Binance (which has a huge presence in Africa), Paxful, a friend’s crypto exchange that uses a third-party turnkey solution.
Nuru told Cointelegraph that his exchange will be as decentralized as possible and knows that although competition can be fierce:
“The demand for bitcoin in Senegal is so great that it doesn’t matter how many exchanges you make.”
Although the sub-Saharan African country of about 17 million people is familiar with bitcoin, it can hardly keep up with the digital currency. Additionally, Nuru says, “The inefficiency rate is very low, which is one of the biggest barriers to adoption.”
Also, although French is the official language, most Senegalese speak the local Wolof language. Woolof has quite a few educational resources on Bitcoin; So Nuru launched a YouTube channel in Wolof to educate its citizens about Bitcoin.
For sellers, the Bitcoin mission began in Les Almadies, the wealthy arrivals district of Dakar, visited by foreign travelers and highly educated people. Visited beach bars, restaurants and hairdressers and was happy to come “day or night” if there were issues with BitPay or Lightning Terminals.
Restaurant accepting bitcoins in Dakar, Senegal
At Praïnha Restaurant (see photo), the bitcoin sign is tall and proud. The founder of the foundation, Renee, is a surf coach and freelance thinker, “I am open to the idea of bitcoin. Why not?” They accepted their first batch of bitcoin on February 24 by setting up a BTCPay server earlier this month.
However, fluctuations in bitcoin prices and education continue to hamper Nuru’s efforts for the “orange pill”. This is why he advised sellers to include an additional 10 percent fee on bitcoin payments.
Likewise, he spends a significant amount of time sitting with merchants and learning about Bitcoin before introducing them to his Bitcoin Layer 2 solution, Lightning.
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When it comes to education, it makes no sense to try to provide taxi drivers or street vendors with QR codes and BTC Pay servers. For freelancers, it’s a good start to talk about and mention a Youtube channel.
Instead, Nuru targets restaurant owners, entrepreneurs, surf schools and established industries. This is a small but significant step towards greater acceptance of Bitcoin in the country.