Together with Bitcoin Ekasi, a circular Bitcoin economy in South Africa, and the Built With Bitcoin Foundation (BWB), we are excited to unveil the Bitcoin Ekasi Center—an educational center focused on financial literacy for local youths, entrepreneurs, and businesses. Alongside BWB, our donation will supply equipment for the center and will help run the program for the initial months. 

Co-Founded by Hermann Vivier, the Bitcoin Ekasi Center opened its doors to its first students last week, educating youths, primary through secondary school, in a dedicated program after school. Classes are taught by Ms. Nomsa, the center’s full-time teaching instructor, who has experience at the primary school in the local township. The program has already started educating around 20 youths, with the goal of quickly doubling in the near future. The children will alternate their time between the Bitcoin Ekasi Center and The Surfer Kids, a non-profit organization co-founded by Hermann, with a mission to empower marginalized and impoverished youths through character-building activities that teach commitment. Coursework will range dependent on age. For the younger groups, the center will focus on foundational mathematics and English language skills. This is important groundwork before delving into financial topics. For the older groups, the program will evolve into answering three vital questions:

  • What is Bitcoin? 
  • How does it work? 
  • Why is it important?

The center is also open to the community in the mornings, Tuesday through Friday, and all day Saturday, to learn about Bitcoin and the financial ecosystem. Luthando Ndbambi, a Bitcoin advocate and senior coach with Bitcoin Ekasi, will lead education efforts for any shopkeepers and community members that want to learn more about Bitcoin—with the goal of also organizing a formal ongoing adult class in the months to come. The center expects initial education will focus on the basics of Bitcoin, safekeeping, red flags to avoid, and use cases such as remittance, payment, and wealth preservation.  

Hermann Vivier, CoFounder of Bitcoin Ekasi, said: “We recently celebrated Bitcoin Ekasi’s first anniversary and it’s a surreal feeling to officially open the center. During that time, I have witnessed financial empowerment through Bitcoin—affecting seemingly unrelated social issues in positive ways. Through the Bitcoin Ekasi Center, I am honored that our team will be able to grow this movement and inspire other communities to think differently about money.” 

Ray Youssef, Founder and CEO of Paxful, said: “Our society is based around money: who has it, how to get it, ways to grow it, what to do with it. For the millions of people who are unable to access banks and credit, Bitcoin is a real solution for them to be able to join those conversations. That’s why local education is vital and why Paxful is committed to Bitcoin’s purpose over price. I’m immensely grateful to partner with Bitcoin Ekasi and get us one step closer to Bitcoin for the 100%.” 

Yusuf Nessary, Co-Founder and Director of the Built With Bitcoin Foundation, said: “In many communities, I have seen, first-hand, that Bitcoin means opportunity, a better chance at life. That all starts with education and we are proud to contribute to Bitcoin Ekasi’s efforts to empower a local community to take the reins on their financial future.” 

This announcement comes off the heels of Bitcoin Ekasi’s ongoing commitment to financial literacy within the community. To date, the nonprofit has on-boarded 10 shops to Bitcoin, including Kwallos Shop and Good Morning Shop. This effort has been led by Luthando and Akhona Livingstone, who take the time to demonstrate transactions through the Lightning Network and set up online and/or hardware wallets based on interest and availability. 

The Bitcoin Ekasi Center is a culmination of the team’s years-long efforts to grow their grassroots Bitcoin network.