Cuba’s First P2P Bitcoin Exchange Launches Amid Regulatory Uncertainty

While most crypto businesses keep out of Cuba due to regulatory uncertainties and hefty American sanctions, Italian-Cuban entrepreneur Mario Mazzola developed and deployed Cuba’s first peer-to-peer Bitcoin (BTC) exchange.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency news outlet Decrypt reported on April 23 that Mazzola launched the “ultra-lightweight” Bitcoin exchange earlier this month.

Taking the lead

A Reuters report published in September 2019 quoted a 35-year-old Cuban mobile shop owner, Jason Sanchez, saying that virtual currencies were “opening new doors” for ordinary citizens.

While there is interest in using virtual currencies and an opportunity to circumvent U.S. sanctions, Cubans face difficulty using cryptos as most exchanges have geo-blocked them from accessing their services.

Mazzola defines Bitcoin as a necessity for Cubans, but with most services blocking users, they fail to reap the benefits. In such a situation, he adds, Qbita will serve as their tool to buy, sell, use and store Bitcoins easily and safely.

Before launching the Qbita exchange this month, he had already launched the Qbita Bitcoin wallet in November 2019. The wallet is specifically designed keeping in mind the slow internet services in Cuba, which is why it is just 1MB in size and can function with a basic internet connection.

Other crypto exchanges in Cuba don’t help much

There are other cryptocurrency exchange and wallet services in Cuba like Paxful and LocalBitcoins but Mazzola said that each of them has “a little problem.”

“Paxful is actively blocking Cuba, LocalBitcoins is asking you for KYC, and because of the embargo, this legal requirement is not helping the people of the island, so it is not available in our country.”

Since the launch of the Qbita exchange, the number of registered downloads have shot to 1,100 from 850, marking a 30% increase in just a week.

While the numbers aren’t huge, Mazzola is optimistic that Cubans would soon see the potential of Bitcoin in national and international transactions.

Bitcoin in Kenya – Ultimate How-To Guide

Kenya is a hotspot for bitcoin in Africa. Getting started with bitcoin in Kenya is not as difficult as it may seem. You can purchase your first bitcoin with any payment method like MPESA, bank transfer, and credit card.

In this article, you will learn how to buy, sell, and use bitcoin in Kenya.

Quick Summary

For readers who want a quick overview of this article, this section covers the most important things to note when getting started with bitcoin.

  • Download a bitcoin wallet.
  • Buy bitcoin – Paxful (MPESA and bank transfer), Binance (Credit Card and bank transfer).
  • Transfer bitcoin to the wallet.
  • Back-Up your wallet.

A more detailed step-by-step guide can is down below:

What is bitcoin?

Bitcoin is digital money, it is money just like the Kenyan Shilling, but instead of a paper and coin-based form of currency, Bitcoin is virtual.

The concept behind bitcoin is to have a new form of money that gives you absolute freedom—bitcoin is decentralized, permissionless, anonymous* and fast.

Read our Bitcoin Explained To Newbies article to understand bitcoin further.

Get A Bitcoin Wallets

A bitcoin wallet is the first point of entry for many new users. A bitcoin wallet is an application or device built for storing bitcoin.

We at BlockNewsAfrica, use Exodus and Trust wallet for Android and iOS. You can read our Best Bitcoin Wallets article for an in-depth review of wallet options.

It is best practice to keep your bitcoin in a wallet and not exchange to mitigate risks. Also, you should back up your wallet to save your funds in case you lose your gadget.

Where Can I Buy Bitcoin in Kenya?

If you are in Kenya, there are several ways to buy bitcoin, such as through crypto exchanges, ATMs, and peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces.

Top platforms to buy bitcoin in Kenya include Paxful, Binance, and LocalBitcoins.

How To Buy Bitcoin on Paxful

One of the easiest ways to buy bitcoin in Kenya is through Paxful, a popular peer-to-peer trading platform. People have been buying bitcoin on this platform since 2015. The company claims to have over 800,000 active users across the world. You can buy bitcoin in Kenya on Paxful with or without a bank account.

Payments on Paxful can be made via MPESA, Chipper Cash, Western Union, and 300 other payment options. To buy bitcoin on Paxful, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Create a free account.

The first step is to register for a free account on the Paxful website.

Screenshot: Paxful homepage showing how to buy bitcoin with Kenyan Shilling,

After, you are required to verify your account with your email and phone number. To have access to all features and payment methods, you will have to verify your identity with a valid ID card like passport, driver’s license, and national ID.

Step 2: Start buying bitcoin.

Once verification is complete, you can start buying bitcoin on Paxful. Enter the amount you want to buy in Kenyan shilling, and you will see how much bitcoin you will receive and the conversion rate.

If you are happy with the amount of bitcoin, you will get, select a payment option and click search offers.

Out of the list of sellers that will appear, select any, you feel comfortable with, follow the prompts, and make your purchase.

Buy Bitcoin on Binance

There are several global cryptocurrency exchanges, but very few allow you to buy bitcoin with the Kenyan Shilling directly. Binance recently announced support for users in Kenya to purchase bitcoin with their local currency.

Binance is a major cryptocurrency company with several projects in the space, beyond an exchange. Aside from bitcoin, you can trade hundreds of other cryptocurrencies on Binance.

To buy bitcoin on this platform, you need to create an account and submit the necessary verification documents. After, you will then have to visit the Buy Crypto page on binance to make your purchase.

Making a 20,000 Kenyan Shillings purchase of Bitcoin on Binance.

On the page, select KES (Kenyan Shilling) as your currency and enter the amount of bitcoin you want to buy. Click the “Buy BTC” button to complete your order.

Buy Bitcoin on LocalCryptos

The final site on our list is a relatively new platform for users in Kenya. LocalCryptos is a peer-to-peer platform, just like Paxful. However, on this platform, you can make purchases without verification.

LocalCryptos more than 40 payment methods, including MPESA. Recently, LocalCryptos added 4 African payment methods: Chipper Cash, Airtel Money, MTN Mobile Money, and EcoCash as payment methods

To buy bitcoin on Kenya on LocalCryptos, you have to sign up to create an account. Sort through the list of sellers based on your preferred currency and payment option.

Finally, open a trade with any trader of your choice and complete the trade to get your bitcoin.

Buy Bitcoin on Bitcoin ATMs in Kenya

Another easy way to buy bitcoin is usually by using a bitcoin ATM. However, in Kenya, there aren’t many of them around.

According to the crypto ATM tracking website Coinatmradar, there is only one in the country. The ATM is located in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya.

Every bitcoin ATM has its own set of rules, limits, instructions, and fees. You should check that before using it.

Is Bitcoin Popular in Kenya?

Bitcoin is popular in Kenya, with several bitcoin communities like the Blockchain Association of Kenya.

Also, you can join our Telegram group to join a community of other bitcoin enthusiasts in Africa.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Bitcoin in Kenya

Can I buy bitcoin with MPESA in Kenya?

Yes, you can buy bitcoin with MPESA in Kenya using Paxful or LocalCryptos.

Is Bitcoin illegal in Kenya?

No. Currently, there is no legal framework that describes cryptocurrencies as illegal in Kenya.

How Can I Earn Bitcoin For Free?

There are several ways to earn bitcoin in Kenya. You can use sites that pay you for completing tasks; you can mine or find a job that pays in bitcoin.

Read our Earn Bitcoin in Africa article to learn more.

How Do I Withdraw Bitcoin To MPESA?

You can withdraw bitcoin to MPESA by selling your bitcoin on Paxful and LocalCryptos. While selling your coins on these platforms, select MPESA as the payment method.

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How Will COVID-19 Impact Bitcoin In The Long Term?

Expected to occur in the middle of May, the bitcoin halving is one of the most highly anticipated events in the crypto space to date. However, with the recent outbreak of coronavirus sending the world into a downward spiral economically, there are many people that believe bitcoin and the crypto space are done for. But an interesting article by Christopher Haruna Hamman suggests that COVID-19 is not against bitcoin.

With the global markets taking big hits on a daily basis, it seems that centralisation is on its last legs. The coronavirus only seems to be beginning as if it’s something out of a horror movie. Many people all across the world are working from home if they can and like other assets in the traditional market, many believe that the leading cryptocurrency is going to take big hits before this is all finished.

The price of bitcoin and other cryptos have been extremely volatile these past few weeks with the current price of the leading token being over $7000. Billions of dollars are being spent all across the world by many governments in order to revive the dying markets while a solution is being made to this current pandemic.

However, at the rate the virus is spreading and the odds of a cure being found sooner rather than later, the world could either experience an extreme recession or outright despondency. But when it comes to cryptocurrency, the prices of bitcoin could double…

One of the reasons is that many people are staying at home to keep safe in these trying times. A lot of these people will end up finding out about the world of crypto and even more people will be curious as to what all the fuss is about. These are the kind of people that will bring a new essence of life into the industry.

Next, we also have to look at the price of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is above $7000, many of which didn’t expect to happen whilst this outbreak was going on. Many people believe that the pandemic is going to have a negative impact on the industry however, only time will tell.

It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out. For more news on this, the BTC Price and other cryptoupdates, keep it with CryptoDaily!

Binance Crypto Exchange Teases Bitcoin (BTC) Options Trading Feature

Binance gearing to enter trading options?

In a fairly encrypted tweet on April 3, the Maltese cryptocurrency exchange Binance hinted that it would soon be ready to conclude trade option contracts for its users. The exchange has tweeted that it is currently in the test phase for options trading on the platform.

For the uninitiated, option contracts are complex financial instruments compared to traditional stocks or even digital tokens. A financial option is essentially a derivative instrument, the value of which depends on the volatility of the underlying. Binance’s case is believed to be cryptographic assets, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and XRP.

In addition, options are also an attractive financial tool, as they can help investors make money by speculating later on the price of the underlying and covering their risks.

For Binance, the introduction of options trading could be part of its long-term strategy to expand trading, which is to offer users various financial instruments and products for effective trading. Trading options on the platform would also help increase the liquidity of the digital assets listed on the exchange.

Binance increases the stake during the financial breakdown

The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out the world and led the world economy to undetermined and uncertain stagnation. As measures are taken worldwide to reduce the economic and financial impact of the virus, many companies and industries around the world are significantly reducing their business.

However, cryptocurrency companies, especially Binance, appear to be taking advantage of the general pessimistic sentiment that has swept the world.