Fishing for female empowerment with crypto in West Africa

Mama Bitcoin is the pseudonym claimed by a young Senegalese Bitcoiner called Bineta. Her business, Bleu comme la mer, was the first retailer in Senegal (and possibly West Africa) to accept crypto as payment. She’s also the first generation of her family to read and write proficiently. 

The name Mama Bitcoin takes inspiration from the initials of her name, while the “mama” not only reflects her motherly instincts but serves to inspire other women in West Africa to get into blockchain technology and Bitcoin (BTC). She told Cointelegraph:

“There are very few women that are active in the blockchain space around the world and the situation is no different in Senegal. I wanted to shine a light on being a woman in the crypto industry.”

Bineta first stumbled across Bitcoin in early 2017 thanks to a curious combination of good intentions and incongruous circumstances. Bineta had dreams of opening her village’s first bakery, a small fishing village called Mbour 90 minutes south of Senegal‘s capital, Dakar. But, in order to deliver warm pains au chocolat to the community each morning, Bineta needed money.

Mbour village beach, Senegal

It’s incredibly difficult to get a bank loan for a business idea in West Africa, and it’s even harder for women. Bineta had to search for alternative means. She tried a multi-level marketing scheme (MLM) before hearing from a friend in Cameroon that Bitcoin might fit the bill.

After copious research, Bineta‘s curiosity sparked. She quickly realized that Bitcoin was far more important for her vision than a potentially risky MLM scheme. Fast-forward to mid-2017 and Mama Bitcoin had spent hours and hours devouring Bitcoin-related content in French and in English, translating where possible.

She’d arrived at the conclusion that Bitcoin is more than just a “number go up” technology — it could build far more than a new village bakery:

“The more I learned, the more I realized we need this. This kind of money will help overcome so many issues. Not only is Bitcoin a tool for freedom, but the technology underpinning Bitcoin such as blockchain and decentralization will change…..


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