Steady Rise in Small Businesses Accepting Bitcoin Payments in Kenya
Kenyan health services provider Health Land Spa has started taking BTC and other cryptocurrencies as a means of payment with a view to increasing accountability and averting losses. Across East Africa, cryptocurrency acceptance is on the rise, with at least two restaurants in Uganda and Kenya selling food for virtual currencies.
‘Safe and Secure’ Currency
Tony Mwongera, founder of Nairobi-based Health Land Spa, told Kenyan news site Bitcoinke that he resorted to BTC to plug revenue loss. “There was so much theft in my business. So I decided, why don’t I use a technology which is safe and secure, and I decided to accept bitcoin [core] as a mode of payment.”
With the introduction of cryptocurrencies, Health Land Spa customers will now be footing the bill for massages, pedicures and other health and beauty treatment services from their digital wallets. The company, which also accepts dash, is looking to add more cryptocurrencies in the coming months.
Mwongera is not the first Kenyan service provider to make a bitcoin move. Boxlight Electronics, a Kenyan company that distributes a range of electrical gadgets including television sets and home theaters, now accepts payment in bitcoin core and bitcoin cash.
Robinson Murage, chief executive officer of Boxlight Electronics, has said previously: “We have received tons of requests from our customers to pay using digital currencies. As a company whose 90 percent of customers are young, tech savvy and predominantly online we choose to be all inclusive and adapt to the needs of those that prefer this type of currency.”
Bitcoin for Roast Beef
In Kenya’s rural town of Nyeri, Betty Wambugu operates a restaurant business, Betty’s Place, selling roast beef in digital currency. “Bitcoin is a means of payment like any other and we accept it here at the restaurant the way we do … cash,” restaurant owner Wambugu was quoted as saying.
“Since the world is becoming more global, my place is also becoming a global restaurant. I attract different customers from different parts of the world, whichever coin they have. As long as it’s a viable coin we accept it,” she added.
Wambugu’s relationship with BTC started much earlier than her acceptance of the digital coin. The business woman used her cryptocurrency savings to buy a two-storey building she later converted into Betty’s Place, BBC reported. However, the bitcoin side of business has not been fast for Wambugu, with about 30,000 Kenyan shillings ($300) in sales from around 20 people, as of October.
Unfazed, Wambugu has recently started hosting classes at her restaurant on Sundays to encourage uptake of cryptocurrency. She intimated that the authorities are not up to speed on the technology, but Kenya’s government has launched a taskforce to look into ways the country can advance in blockchain and artificial intelligence.
Top Crypto Market in Africa
Several months have passed since the Kenyan parliament tasked the country’s Financial Ministry with coming up with a determination as to whether to regulate bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. There has not been any official communication from the Kenyan government in relation to its latest position on the future of BTC.
However, the economy is rated as one of the top 25 cryptocurrency markets in the world, and third in Africa after Nigeria and South Africa.
In neighboring Uganda, restaurant owner Jennifer Birungi also accepts BTC; not a hard business decision as the Ugandan capital, Kampala, is home to dedicated bitcoin evangelists like the lecturer Richard M Bagorogo. “I am living on bitcoin because getting a job in this country is not easy,” Bagorogo told the congregation that faithfully flocks to his bitcoin “sermons.”