Written and illustrated by guest author Ahmad Al-Hemmaly
Salam (peace) upon you all.
I'm Ahmad Al-Hemmally, known on the Internet as @ahmadmanga.
It's a known fact that I'm Libyan, and I believe Libya needs Bitcoin. It's a digital, global, and transparent currency. The people at the Africoin Report asked me to write about the state of Bitcoin in my country. I hope this article will be enlightening.
How I Know Bitcoin
I started learning about Bitcoin about a year ago. The term "Bitcoin" wasn't new to me. I had heard it here and there before, but when I saw that Scirra's Construct 2 accepted it as a payment method, I thought I should try it.
That's when I introduced myself to Bitcoin. It took me reading loads of pages to even know how to get started. With Google and /r/Bitcoin, I made my first wallet on Coinbase. After that, one thing led to other. I started by begging at /r/BitcoinBeg. Then I learned about /r/Bittippers (it was good while it lasted), and I made my first bits and a few friends there. I helped a few people for bitcoin, I know the ChangeTip community, and I'm loving it.
Thanks to all these people (whom I can't thank enough), I got something close to "Internet income."
Why I Say Bitcoin Is Perfect for Libya
Legal ways for buying and selling via the Interenet are limited here. There's no PayPal, and getting a credit card here is so hard (even impossible depending on the bank). But Bitcoin is global, international. This is my #1 reason.
Transition fees are lower compared to other payment methods (such as a bank or PayPal, etc.). It's the best way to send money between different countries.
Bitcoin is growing. Many markets accept it now, and there are many legal workarounds to buy from Amazon, Steam, and other services that otherwise we could only use through questionable means.
Bitcoin is the perfect way for us to get paid for digital services we're good at providing, like Photoshop editing and article writing.
Banking isn't as advanced here as the rest of the world. Not everyone here has a bank account but almost everyone has a device (a PC or a smart phone) that they can download their Bitcoin wallet onto.
The dinar (our currency) gets weaker each day due to current events. Having another currency that's not dependent on it will help.
But It Didn't Go As I Had Hoped
Most of those I talked to said they were interested to see whether Bitcoin would really come to fruit as a currency. Some people even praised it. But no one was interested enough to open their own wallet.
Their reasons vary. Some are busy. Some don't see a good effort-to-gain ratio from it. Some don't like the volatility, and some said that what I was talking about was too technical for them. There's also the language barrier, as all the ways I get Bitcoin involve communicating with people around the world using English.
Also when I talk about what I've bought using bitcoin, all of these items are digital, most of which we can buy here cheaper with cash. (Other countries don't support us, so this means all we have is cracked software.) I wish software companies would realize how much money they could get by supporting Libya.
Until now I haven't got anything physical with Bitcoin, as houses here don't have addresses, and things I've tried to buy from Amazon didn't reach my PO Box. There are other ways, but I haven't tried them.
So convincing others under this situation is pretty hard. But I'll keep trying.
The Future Looks Bright
People here are smart, and they are good at exploiting things to their advantage.
If they take time to read about Bitcoin, they will know that the country needs something like this. I'm sure there are already many Libyan Bitcoiners whom I don't know. Perhaps they are even reading this right now.
In the future, I'll be able to convince someone, now that I'm really trying to. The future looks bright, and "with Bitcoin, it's possible."
Special thanks to those working on the Africoin Report for asking me to write this. And thank you for reading it.
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