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CiTi Launches First Digital Currency Hub and Incubator in South Africa

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The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) will be announcing its intent to support development and innovation in the digital currency space at the Bandwidth Barn’s BitHub Launch Event on 11 June 2015.

CiTi – an incubator for entrepreneurs with a focus on innovation and tech – will be launching a new strain of its support, with a strong focus on the digital currency space.

Says Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi, “BitHub will be the physical space where coders, designers and developers can meet, work out of and collaborate. There are many viable digital currency ideas in South Africa that are not coming to market because they lack the infrastructure and support to take it further. BitHub is that space.”

“In South Africa, we are faced with different challenges from the rest of the world,” says Sonya Kuhnel, organiser of the recent BitCoin Africa Conference and collaborator in the BitHub launch, “and understanding our market is as important as the technology behind it. BitHub will guide and mentor entrepreneurs whilst they develop and shape their Bitcoin businesses to fit our unique market needs.”

Digital Currency’s Potential in South Africa

South Africa has a legacy of leading the way in tech and innovation on the African continent.

“We believe that fintech innovation is going to be the cause of considerable disruption to the traditional banking model in Africa,” says Ian, CEO of CiTi. “We particularly believe that innovation within fintech has the ability to dramatically reduce transactional fees and lower barriers and the cost of remittance. The decentralised Block chain technology also has huge transformative potential. Reducing corruption is one potential application that comes to mind!”

Sonya agrees, “The large unbanked sector and massive remittance industry in South Africa and Africa represents massive opportunities for innovation and business development, especially regarding Bitcoin development, which has the potential to lower transaction fees. This presents a viable solution to a real problem.”

The Purpose of the BitHub Events

The launch event on the 11th June will be to introduce BitHub as a space for developers and coders in the digital currencies sector.

Currently confirmed for the launch are keynote speakers Andrew van der Nest from Landmark Computers and Roslyn Lavery from PayFast.

Landmark was the first company in South Africa that accepted Bitcoin as a payment method, both online and in store. Landmark is trading the largest volumes in Bitcoin currently in SA and Andrew has been an advocate of Bitcoin as early as 2009. Andrew is also in the process of setting up the Bitcoin Foundation in order to train and standardise the industry.

PayFast is currently the only payment processing company that accepts BitCoin in South Africa. TakeAlot is the largest online retailer accepting Bicoin in South Africa, and this is enabled by PayFast.

Keynote speakers will share their learnings and insight into digital currency and its application in business.

The purpose of this event, and those to follow, will be to inform, develop and innovate:

1. Education of digital currencies – Most people and corporates are cautious, if not unaware, of this form of currency. Offering education on how viable this is in the real world will resolve that.

2. Understanding the regulation of this space – Digital currency is not regulated by the Reserve Bank or any legislative control. What opportunities does that present to industry and commerce at large?

3. Fostering general acceptance from industry leaders – Demonstrating how viable this currency is in real-time trade through industry leaders sharing their experience with digital currency will hopefully help others take steps in the same direction.

“We believe this is the future of economic development, and innovation, in this country,” says Ian, “which is why we are putting money where our mouth is and, not only are we providing the physical space and infrastructure to developers, will also be incubating a Bitcoin developer out of the Barn at the Woodstock Exchange. These are exciting times, and we are pleased to be at the forefront of this technological evolution.”

To Contact CiTi:

Tel: 021 409 7000



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