Bitcoin and Lightning in Mozambique

Bitcoin (BTC) is available to everyone. For you, for Michael Saylor in Miami, and for 38-year-old George, a Mozambican family man who uses the largest cryptocurrency to make ends meet.

Jorge, who uses his first name to remain anonymous, lives in the small village of Bomba, Mozambique, on the southeast coast. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has stripped tourism from the laid-back city of waves, one of Jorge’s key drivers – tourism, has disappeared.

Fortunately, bitcoin adoption is slowly expanding in Africa – from the Central African Republic to Senegal and further north. Mozambique is also showing signs of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency heating up.

Jorge, the first bitcoiner in his town. Source: Twitter

Mozambique is a vast country in southern Africa that struggles with poverty and corruption. Its GDP per capita is $448, and it is among the poorest countries in the world. According to the World Bank, the pandemic pushed GDP per capita below $500 in 2020.

Fortunately for Jorge, one of the surf camp owners that Jorge used to work with is the avid Bitcoiner he took under his care in 2021.

Hermann Vivier, founder of the Bitcoin-inspired Bitcoin Ekasi project in South Africa and crypto-friendly roaming company Unravel Surf Travel, has helped Jorge protect his savings and diversify his income with BTC.

The birthplace of Jorge, in the southeast of Mozambique. Source: Google

Jorge wears many hats for a living, from internet surfing assistant to arts and crafts seller to SIM card seller. He told Cointelegraph that he now “accepts bitcoin” for the services he provides.

In addition, it uses the Lightning Network to instantly switch between South African and Mozambique currencies via the Bitrefill Bitcoin app.

Jorge explains that while “very few people understand bitcoin here,” he buys and sells credit over the phone on Bitefill (an app that sells gift cards payable with Bitcoin on-chain or Lightning), and can easily switch between ZAR (Southern Rand Africa) and MZN (Mitcal Mozambique).

“It is the easiest way to exchange between ZAR and MZN. It is instant and I have already been able to gain more clients in this way.”

While a poor nation, Statista states that nearly half of Mozambique’s population has a telephone subscription. Moreover, internet penetration in Mozambique is growing rapidly. Over 1.4 million people (+25%) went online between 2020 and 2021, with the internet now reaching more than a fifth of the population.

To bank with Bitcoin, all you need is a phone and an internet connection. Given the extremely high levels of corruption and currency weakness, Mozambique is an unlikely potential hotbed for BTC adoption.

However, education remains the biggest obstacle. Jorge admits that “initially, it was very difficult to learn about Bitcoin!” Vivier helped him install the necessary apps on his phone and set it up with a Lightning Network (LN) supported wallet; They chose MuunWallet, and took the time to explain Satoshi Nakamoto’s innovation.

Here is the topic of Hermann’s tweet, which explains how Jorge is exchanging coins with LN:

Thanks to Bitcoin, Jorge now avoids high transfer fees for cross-border payments; He is able to instantly click between currencies thanks to the Lightning Network and has effectively opened his customer base to the whole world.

Related: Coyle’s Surprise: Central African Banks Reprimand Central African Republic for Adopting Bitcoin

Jorge wanted to express his gratitude to Vivier for the help, praising the response he has received from the Bitcoin community so far.

“I am learning a lot and Bitcoin makes my life easier: it helps support my family and my four children.”

Of course, he lives near the world-famous surfing point, Tofinho, Jorge’s kids are surfers, and the eldest is a surf instructor.

He concluded that, in general, thanks to Bitcoin “as coisas são bonitas,” which means that, thanks to Bitcoin, “things are beautiful.”