Bank books National Theatre for blockchain expert to explain Bitcoin to Namibian investors
The unavoidable impact of blockchain and cryptocurrencies on the local financial services sector has prompted Bank Windhoek to find an expert and bring him to Namibia for an icebreaker event to open the door for this new, poorly understood form of investment and payment.
A South African expert in digital currencies, Gavin Marshall will be in Windhoek next week to address the local business fraternity on blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies in general, and available currencies in particular. The bank has booked the National Theatre for this event on Thursday 15 February expecting a bumper crowd. Marshall is a consulting trainer and instructor from South Africa’s Blockchain Academy. He is widely considered one of the foremost experts on this disruptive technology.
According to the Bank of Namibia’s response late last year to Bitcoin’s 1348% rise in a single year, digital currencies are not defined by law and are thus deemed Not Legal Tender. This however, does not preclude the proliferation and widespread use of digital currencies, especially now that South Africa has launched its first Bitcoin miner.
Bank Windhoek realised that at some point it is inevitable that cryptocurrencies, whether Bitcoin or any other blockchain method of payment, will find its way to Namibia and that it will continue to be unregulated.
Marshall’s task is to explain to Namibians the difference between electronic transactions in conventional currencies, be they legal tender or not, and a purely digital currency like Bitcoin.
The first digital currencies surfaced around 2000 but it was not until 2008 with the advent of blockchain technology that a successful digital platform was established to allow multiple users to make multiple transactions, visible to all other users, with a full repository of all historical transactions. It is very similar to the technologies that drive large professional websites where multiple contributors all have access to the same material at the same time, with a full record of all changes made.
Announcing Marshall’s presentation, Bank Windhoek stated “Worldwide, regulators and financial institutions have varying viewpoints on the legality, sustainability and profitability of cryptocurrencies. However, all agree that blockchain technology has significant benefits. These include its transparency, reduced transaction costs and reliability. For owners of a cryptocurrency, every single transaction is confirmed immediately by both the creditor and debtor, explaining why its popularity has mushroomed, not only as an investment venue, but also as a means of settlement.
“As a responsible corporate citizen we saw it fit to hold this session in response to the public’s general interest and protection. Considering the volume of news coverage and interest in blockchain technology and the volatility of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the time has come for the Namibian public to fully explore the current and future impact this technology may have on our lives,” said Baronice Hans, the bank’s Managing Director.