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Recounting Ethiopia’s Bitcoin Developments In 2022


bitcoinmagazine.com 23 December 2022 15:20, UTC
Reading time: ~4 m

This is an opinion editorial by Kal Kassa, an Ethiopian Bitcoiner.

2022 was an exciting year for the global Bitcoin community, and particularly African Bitcoiners. With a large population that is much younger than many other continents, the 54 countries of Africa are increasingly primed for Bitcoin with a growing arsenal of educators, advocates and developers.

As we look toward the future of what is possible with sovereign money, especially in the areas of the world that can benefit most, it’s helpful to review some of the news and highlights to come out of Ethiopia, a country that could emerge as one of the leaders in Bitcoin adoption and innovation in the year to come.

First Quarter

  • Bitcoin Magazine published “Suppressed by World Superpowers, Ethiopia Should Turn To Bitcoin” by Project Mano as inflation numbers for the nation came in at 35.1% and 41.6% for food inflation.
  • Yilak Kidane ran a full Bitcoin node using a Raspberry Pi 4 and live streamed the process from Addis Ababa.
  • Dr. Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, encouraged the country's institutional bankers to research innovative technologies “like cryptocurrencies.” These comments were made at an inaugural celebration for the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia at its headquarters building.
  • Ethiopians inaugurated a massive hydroelectric project, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), as the first turbines began producing energy on a project expected to harness 6,450 megawatts of energy.
  • An introductory class titled “Bitcoin 101” was held in Addis Ababa as an effort to increase education and adoption. These classes were inspired by books from Bitcoin-focused authors like Jimmy Song, Andreas Antonopoulos and Saifedean Ammous.

Second Quarter

  • BTC Times published “Ethiopia’s Best Chance At Adopting Bitcoin” and Project Mano published an open letter to Samson Mow of Jan3 about orange-pilling the Ethiopian government.
  • A reporter named Amharic Edition published data from the Financial Security Services that suggest many people in Ethiopia are “benefiting from bitcoin.” Bloomberg published “Dollar Squeeze, Accelerating Inflation Pummel Ethiopian Currency” on black market demands for the U.S. dollar and dollar-denominated imports.
  • Seifu on EBS, a popular late-night comedy show in Ethiopia, along with other channels, interviewed Solomon Kassa on emergent technologies like Bitcoin.
  • The Bitcoin Conference 2022 held a “Bitcoin Is Freedom” panel with Bitcoin advocates from around the world taking stage in Miami Beach, Florida.
  • The prime minister of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, challenged government officials to study and use open-source tools and technologies. The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) made comments on cryptocurrencies. The state-owned news broadcasters provided Amharic-language coverage on the emerging tool.

Third Quarter

  • The Global Bitcoin Fest hosted Ethiopian Bitcoiners on Twitter Spaces.
  • The Information Network Security Administration (INSA) requested that individuals and entities providing “crypto services including mining and transfers” register with their offices as per Article 6/9 of Proclamation 808/06.
  • Ventures Africa published “Why Ethiopia Is Moving From Banning Crypto To Regulating It” in response to accelerating news of bitcoin adoption in Ethiopia and Greater Africa. The Reporter Ethiopia published “Property Craze Causes Economy To Sputter” on how the central bank exchange rate was 52.5 birr to $1 (but black market rates have risen to over 90 birr).

Fourth Quarter

  • Dr. Yinager Dessie, governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), stated that 391 bank accounts of individuals across the country had been frozen. Bitcoin Magazine covered the news on its live show, episode 178, in defense of peaceful remittance methods like Bitcoin and the Lightning Network.
  • Paco de la India (aka, Run With Bitcoin) traveled to various cities in Ethiopia to spend time with early adopters and bitcoin-accepting merchants. India also held a Bitcoin meetup in Addis Ababa, sharing sats (fractional amounts of bitcoin) with more than a dozen attendees.
  • Obi Nwosu of Fedi discussed Ethiopia and energy production at the “Emerging Markets And Bitcoin” panel at Bitcoin Amsterdam 2022. Bloomberg reported that “Ethiopia Has Started Exporting Electricity To Neighboring Kenya” on news that the government-owned Ethiopian Electric Power has successfully tested a new transmission line.
  • The Green Africa Mining Alliance (GAMA) was launched at the first Africa Bitcoin Conference in Accra, Ghana, while the Built With Bitcoin Foundation inaugurated a new Bitcoin education center in Kumasi, Ghana.
  • Strike and Bitnob announced a partnership allowing for more remittance services in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana to work on Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. Gridless raised $2 million from Stillmark and Block, Inc. to finance bitcoin mining efforts in East Africa.

Going into 2023, I am full of optimism. Bitcoin is indeed a powerful tool unlike any money the world has seen. And as with any powerful tool, great care and responsibility should be taken. Stay humble, stack sats and have a beautiful new year!

This is a guest post by Kal Kassa. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

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