- Bitcoin is uniquely special. Using bitcoins you can send very small values (micro transactions) of money across the internet anywhere in the world – just like a Whatsapp message! The smallest amount that can be sent via bitcoin is 0.00034713 Kenyan cents (not shillings). Think about that. The smallest amount of money you can send via M-PESA is 10 bob. The transaction fee is FREE or extremely low. The picture below shows an amount donated by a friend to a reporter in China for a brilliant report on Bitcoin mining in the frigid slopes of Guangdong – $0.24 to be precise, about 20 bob (20 Kshs).
- Bitcoins are produced through a process called mining. A process that uses computer power to solve difficult cryptographic hashes. This process takes up a lot of computer power that requires highly specialized graphics cards, processors and dedicated integrated circuits. Bitcoin miners in rural China have converted massive warehouses into mining rigs that use up tons of power to support thousands of bitcoin mining hardware. Here are some pictures from north eastern rural China of one of these mining operations during night and day.
- The Bitcoin payment network is free, fast and uniquely, transactions are publicly viewable on blockchain.info . Although all money transfers can be viewed here by anyone, the identities of bitcoin wallet address owners are unknown. Bitcoin is pseudonymous so one can only see money moved from one account to another but not by/to whom. In one instance, a user sent 153 million dollars for FREE over the bitcoin network. In just a couple of minutes, 13 billion Kshs worth of bitcoins moved from one address to another.This is one of the widely touted unique strengths of bitcoin. Money amounts ranging from large to extremely small micro amounts can be sent over the network instantly at ultra-low costs. The charges for sending 1 KES and 13 billion KES are the same. How much do you pay to send Shs 1500 via M-PESA? See this article for the new but increased M-PESA rates.Here is a picture of the public transaction of Shs 13 billion.
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- The guy in the next picture received donations worth 2 million Kshs in 1 hour just for displaying an image of a QR code on TV. A college student from Alabama was at a live basketball sports event screened on TV. He wrote up his banner and attached the QR code image of his bitcoin wallet address next to ‘Hi MOM, send me Bitcoins’. Anyone watching television could immediately scan the image and send money in bitcoins to his account from their phones. That’s exactly what happened. Within the next hour, kind souls donated up to 2 million Kenya shillings. Even now, you can scan the image and send money to the account. This application an easily be used for NGO and Social impact projects through micro donations and crowd funding on a global scale.
- Pizza! The first ever publicly recorded purchase of a real good (a pizza) happened on 22nd May 2010 when a computer programmer, Laszlo Hanyecz offered to pay 10,000 bitcoins for a pizza delivery to her home. The offer was made on a bitcoin forum. A pizza delivery guy took up the offer and delivered the pizza for 10,000 bitcoins worth 350 million KES by today’s exchange rate. 358,440,000 for a 2 large sized pizzas must be some kind of Guinness book record. Forbes magazine ran a title “The Bitcoin Pizza Purchase that’s worth $ 7 million today” Here is a snap of the forum conversation that led up to the history making event. You can view the rest of it here
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