Veteran business journalist Jeffrey Gogo has joined the news desk at Bitcoin.com. Regular readers count on news.Bitcoin.com to bring them coverage from all over the world, and that world now extends to Africa – Zimbabwe to be exact. Zimbabwe as an emerging crypto market is a critical part of the continent to have on-the-ground coverage. Meet the news desk’s man in Africa, Mr. Gogo.
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Jeffrey Gogo Joins news.Bitcoin.com
“I live in a middle income part of Harare called Mabelreign,” business journalist Jeffrey Gogo explained to news.Bitcoin.com in a profile interview after joining the Bitcoin.com team. “Fairly big four or three beds houses under tile on about one acre. We call them medium density suburbs here, a rung below the low density for the extremely rich, and another above the high density for those who have not yet found privilege to earn more. But we all face similar problems – poor water supply, cash shortages, dilapidated road network etc – except some are better equipped to cope than others.”
Catch a crypto enthusiast, and chances are they’ll know, if nothing else at all, at least a little about the economy of one African country, Zimbabwe. The Republic is most famous within the ecosystem as a fantastic use case: its currency so hyper-inflated it is now officially canned and out of circulation. The Zimbabwean dollar has become a cautionary symbol, often employed by cryptocurrency zealots as a way to show the folly of faith in politicians controlling an economy.
If there’s an upside to such a phenomenon, Zimbabweans have become practical monetary experts out of necessity. Half of all transactions involve paper money, and for the domestic population they’ve become accustomed to exchanging US dollars, South African rand, Botswana pula, euro, Chinese renminbi, Indian rupees, pound sterling, Australian dollars… you get the idea.
“Undoubtedly,” Mr. Gogo continues, “cryptocurrency presents an incredible opportunity for people in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa to transact freely and speedily, on their own terms. For example, Zimbabwe has a history of hyper inflation and bank failure. People lost savings of a lifetime when inflation scaled past 230 million percent in 2008, according to government estimates. Overnight, all your bank savings, pension become useless. And even if one tried to withdraw cash from the bank, the money just wasn’t there. In 2009 the country ditched its own currency and adopted the US dollar, but cash shortages still persist. Depositors spend several hours in the bank queue waiting to be given just $30. Public confidence in the Zimbabwean banking system is so low that, with supportive legislation, crypto can thrive. People are desperate for a way out. Crypto can provide that. Mobile money proves that can be done.”
Skeptical at First
Readers unfamiliar with the whereabouts of the African nation can find it on the continent south of the Equator, the tropics’ southern edge, slicing a bit of both hemispheres east and south. It’s surrounded by four countries: clockwise, Zambia to its north, Mozambique to the east, South Africa to its south, and Botswana to its west. Over 15 million people call it home, and Harare is its largest city as well as its capital. It’s also where news.Bitcoin.com writer and editor Jeffrey Gogo has begun filing dispatches.
“Someone introduced me to Bitcoin in the winter of 2014, when its price was equally under a cold spell, worth roughly $450. Promising to ’embarrass’ me with a free Bitcoin gift, the fellow seized my tablet, installed a wallet called Mycelium, and smiled. ‘It’s exciting,’ he shouted before my bemused face with enthusiasm. ‘Try it. You should try it. Bitcoin is the future,’” Mr. Gogo was assured.
He describes himself as somewhat skeptical, noting that the very gentleman who enthusiastically brought to his attention cryptocurrency would only a year later start the popular crypto exchange, Golix. Mr. Gogo describes his skepticism not serving him well in the beginning, and perhaps his years covering legacy financing blinding him a little to money’s future. He soon smartened up.
“So, I started the journey, researching and reading lots of literature on what at the time I considered an experimental currency. Why would anyone in their right senses want to replace our beloved notes and coins with a currency that’s not even real money: intangible, invisible and controlled by nobody. Money that only computers and cellular phones could store?” Mr. Gogo wondered.
Dabbled in Mining and then Began Crypto Journalism
“Supposing to have gained…