The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) has announced the launch of the BitHub at the Bandwidth Barn on June 11, aimed at supporting development and innovation in the digital currency space.
BitHub will be a space for developers and coders in the digital currencies sector, with Andrew van der Nest from Landmark Computers and Roslyn Lavery from PayFast confirmed as keynote speakers for the launch.
The hub will look to educate people on the benefits of digital currencies such as bitcoin, discuss the lack of regulation in the space and the opportunities that presents to industry and commerce at large, and foster general acceptance of bitcoin and other digital currencies.
“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,” said Ian Merrington, chief executive officer (CEO) of CiTi.
Sonya Kuhnel, organiser of the recent Bitcoin Africa Conference and collaborator in the BitHub launch, said South Africa was faced with different challenges from the rest of the world.
“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,” she said.
Merrington said CiTi believed fintech innovation will be the cause of considerable disruption to the traditional banking model in Africa.
“We particularly believe that innovation within fintech has the ability to dramatically reduce transactional fees and lower barriers and the cost of remittance,” he said.
“The decentralised blockchain technology also has huge transformative potential. Reducing corruption is one potential application that comes to mind!”
Kuhnel said the large unbanked sector and massive remittance industry in South Africa and Africa generally represented massive opportunities for innovation and business development, especially regarding Bitcoin development.