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Cryptocurrency could change the future of how we deal with money in the digital age – expert

Cryptocurrency could change the future of how we deal with money in the digital age – expert

Cryptocurrency expert, Gavin Marshall from Blockchain Academy in South Africa, last week enthralled the audience with the origin and workings of Bitcoin and emphasised that its invention, together with blockchain technology, is revolutionary and could change the future of how we deal with money in the digital age.

Namibia’s immense interest in cryptocurrencies was evident on 15 February, when over 400 people attended an information session hosted by Bank Windhoek at the National Theatre of Namibia on Bitcoin and its supporting blockchain technology.

Setting the context for his talk on cryptocurrencies, Marshall said, that the purpose behind inventing numbers is so to create a trading ground.

Marshall explained that trade took on the form of trading goods for paper as receipts for value backed by a guarantee held by a trusted third party or institution. The trusted third party has always been the verifier and authority over the debits and credits – or deposits and withdrawals against an account or ledger. In the current context of digital trade and easy internet access, the concept of trade and compensation has taken on a radical shift,

“Now, we have a money system that is actually designed for the digital age. Bitcoin is the most secure database in the world with everyone in control. Self-regulatory by nature, it offers a secure platform to trade within seconds anywhere in the world. Blockchain and Bitcoin also opens the world of digital money to anyone who has access to technology. It is a mechanism for economic inclusion,” Marshall said.

Marshall explained that cryptocurrency originated with the cypherpunk movement in the late 1990s experimenting with using various cryptographic technologies to create alternate ways for people to transact with each other without needing a trusted third party to safeguard the ledger.

Nick Szabo, Adam Back, Hal Finney and Wei Dai were all pioneers in this field, with the Bitcoin whitepaper being released in October 2008 by someone- or a group of people- with the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto. The first version of Bitcoin was released early in 2009.

“Every now and again a technology comes along and changes everything. Blockchain is one of those technologies,” Marshall said. The blockchain is one part of a suite of technologies that enables us to secure a decentralised, distributed ledger. A block holds batches of valid transactions that are hashed and encoded into a Merkle tree. Each block includes the cryptographic hash of the prior block in the chain, linking the two.

The linked blocks form a chain and confirms the integrity of the previous block, all the way back to the original genesis block. This chain of validated transactions form the basis of cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency creates the incentive to secure the ledger (a process known as mining). In order to have a permissionless decentralised ledger without needing a trusted third party, a block chain needs an incentive- namely a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. There have been a number of experiments to separate ‘block chain’ from needing a cryptocurrency, but all of these need trusted, permissioned entities to safeguard the ledger.

Caption: Economist, Rowland Brown, Bank Windhoek Managing Director, Baronice Hans, Gavin Marshall and Bank Windhoek’s Chief Financial Officer, James Chapman at the information session on Bitcoin and its supporting blockchain technology that was hosted by Bank Windhoek.



About The Author

Donald Matthys

Donald Matthys has been part of the media fraternity since 2015. He has been working at the Namibia Economist for the past three years mainly covering business, tourism and agriculture. Donald occasionally refers to himself as a theatre maker and has staged two theatre plays so far. Follow him on twitter at @zuleitmatthys

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.