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Local startup makes Bitcoin cool in DR Congo

Ndonge, a small startup in the heart of the DRC, takes bitcoin to the locals as multiple initiatives spring up where bans once made it impossible for them to access the cryptocurrency.

bitcoin use growing in the DRC thanks to local startup

Bitcoin just had its halving, an event that sees the number of new bitcoins released into circulation reduced by half. The digital asset, which is built on blockchain and borderless, can be used as money and has continued to gain massive adoption across the globe.

One of those places where the cryptocurrency is beginning to make an impact is in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

With most brokers flatly refusing to offer locals access to bitcoin-related services, a startup in the east of the country is making the case for Bitcoin and helping locals appreciate its benefits.

Ndonge brings Bitcoin to locals

According to the Cointribune, the first over the counter bitcoin desk in the DRC appeared in 2015, setting the trend that led to the launch of Ndonge’s bitcoin venture in August 2019. The startup began as a micro-enterprise whose platform offered users a channel to sell phone credits and manage stock.

In August 2019, it made bitcoin the payment method on its platform, meaning users only accessed its online services with bitcoin. The move meant anybody could buy phone credit for any of the major providers using bitcoin.

Ndonge also offers users a platform from which they can buy and sell bitcoin against the US dollar and the Congolese franc. And that has meant that Congolese in the Diaspora can buy phone credits for people back home using the cryptocurrency.

Users benefit from a 5% reduction in credit cost when they use bitcoin and 7% interest in bitcoin-fiat transactions. It means sending BTC to locals earns them 7% more in fiat, higher than legacy providers like Western Union or local banks.

Ndonge boasts over 600 registered users and accounts for about $30,000 or 3.21 bitcoin in trade volumes.

Though negligible compared to volumes recorded in other countries in Africa, it illustrates that Bitcoin accessibility is growing.


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