Centbee at CoinGeek Live 2020: Building a Bitcoin business in Africa

While Centbee has grown to become one of the leading Bitcoin SV wallets globally, its biggest success has been in Africa. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, the startup has launched innovative products that are changing the lives of many across the continent.

So, what does it take to build a successful Bitcoin business in Africa? During their presentation on Day 1 of CoinGeek Live, Centbee cofounders Lorien Gamaroff and Angus Brown let us in on their journey, what they’ve been up to recently and introduced us to some of the people behind the success.

Broadcasting live from their offices in Johannesburg, Angus and Lorien shared how they got into Bitcoin and subsequently founded Centbee. Lorien’s interest in Bitcoin was sparked by the need for an alternative to the inaccessible banking system.

“This idea of a cheap and accessible payments system just really struck me,” he stated.

Lorien later introduced Angus to Bitcoin and Centbee was born.

The company has grown rapidly in the past four years and now powers several types of payments, from Uber rides to Netflix subscriptions, purchasing electricity vouchers to buying mobile airtime. Centbee users in selected countries can also withdraw their Bitcoin directly into their bank accounts.

“I’m particularly excited about the ability to buy small value things, for instance being able to buy mobile data with your Bitcoin. You can now easily buy Bitcoin, you can sell it, you can move it around. This makes it a payment system, easy to use as money and not just a speculative asset,” Angus remarked.

Lorien also lets the audience into Centbee’s office in Johannesburg, giving a sneak peek into the diligent effort that goes towards creating a thriving Bitcoin business in Africa. The firm’s CFO Rob Graham, who earlier this year received a global award for his outstanding work, revealed just how exciting it is to work in a Bitcoin company that’s changing lives in Africa.

“Bitcoin is the ultimate change that people need, especially in Africa,” Kagiso Ntshingila, the firm’s UI/UX developer remarked. Centbee has enabled thousands of Africans to move money seamlessly across borders, cutting down the huge associated costs and time, he added.

Heidi Patmore, Centbee’s head of marketing revealed how challenging and rewarding marketing Bitcoin products can be in Africa. Heidi, who has played a big role in marketing Centbee’s remittance platform Minit Money and other payment options, delved into the progress so far and how the company has been fighting the negative stereotypes many have about Bitcoin.

“It’s taken a lot of energy and a lot of effort. It’s taken lots of conversations with real business people, who have real customers and real problems, convincing them that Bitcoin can provide solutions to them. That’s what we’ve been doing for the last couple of years. […] We certainly are seeing the results and having so much success that we are ready to take on the world,” Lorien and Angus concluded.

Watch CoinGeek Live Day 1 here.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.