Documentary Review - Banking on Africa: The Bitcoin Revolution

Sunday 1 May 2020, 1:23 AM AEST - 1 week ago

Another week, another cryptocurrency documentary review... Although Banking on Africa: The Bitcoin Revolution, released May 22, promises something a little different.

For a start, amongst the usual crypto-101 and industry-overview fare, a focus on how Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is transforming the African continent feels like a breath of fresh air. After all, wasnt banking the unbanked one of the nobler use-cases for Bitcoin, before it became all about the price?

In addition, most documentaries dont have an accompanying in-depth 37-page report, allowing viewers to dive deeper into The State of Cryptocurrency in Africa and follow up on the topics covered in the film.

Both the report and the documentary are supported by cryptocurrency platform, Luno, which has a strong presence in Africa, having originally headquartered in Cape Town.

This left me wondering whether I was about to watch an overly long promo-piece, when I attended the virtual premiere earlier this week. However, they did send takeaway pizza, so whos gonna complain?

Life-changing stories of crypto in Africa

The film opens with Lorien Gamaroff, founder of the blockchain-based social outreach project Uziso, standing outside a Soweto school in the dark.

He is about to unveil a project which enables donors from around the world to support such schools by sending funds to cryptocurrency-enabled smart electricity meters.

It also features the story of Alakanani Itireleng, Africas original Bitcoin Lady, who discovered Bitcoin when trying to help her terminally ill son, and set up Botswanas SatoshiCentre to spread the word of Bitcoin in Africa after he sadly passed away.

Strong theme left me wanting more

So far, so promising. Exploring how Bitcoin and cryptocurrency can enact actual social change in African communities desperate for the opportunity to improve their living conditions is a strong theme.

Unfortunately, for me personally, the film doesnt explore this theme deeply enough. The threads featuring Gamaroff and Itireleng are spread across the films 47 minute run-time. But they are interspersed with more general comment, explaining Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in relation to traditional financial systems, and the benefits it ...

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