The lure of cryptocurrencies

The lure of cryptocurrencies

MASERU – CRYPTOCURRENCIES have taken other parts of the world by storm and are considered a viable alternative currency by some. In Lesotho, they are largely unknown. But one man is on a mission to change that.
“The biggest mistake in my life was to misuse my coins, this denied me an opportunity to be a millionaire,” laments Thabang Litšiba, a crypto currency trader who says he is working on various crypto currencies to change his life and those of fellow Basotho.

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) describes cryptocurrency as a type of digital currency that generally only exists electronically.
“There is no physical coin or bill unless you use a service that allows you to cash in cryptocurrency for a physical token. You usually exchange cryptocurrency with someone online, with your phone or computer, without using an intermediary like a bank. Bitcoin and Ether are well-known cryptocurrencies, but there are many different cryptocurrency brands, and new ones are continuously being created,” states the FTC.

According to Phillip Sander in a 2020 research article, the impact of crypto currencies on developing countries can be immense.
Cryptocurrency could provide significant benefits by overcoming the lack of social trust and by increasing the access to financial services as they can be considered a medium to support the growth process in developing countries by increasing financial inclusion, providing a better traceability of funds and to help people to escape poverty, according to the research.
Litšiba, who is in his early 30s and has previously worked for the Bureau of Statistics as a data collector, says he wants Basotho to become part of the global family dealing in cryptocurrency.

Born and raised in Koro-Koro, about 30 kilometres south-east of Maseru, Litšiba says he was exposed to cryptocurrencies by colleagues through social media in 2015.
“There were chain messages on WhatsApp groups about bitcoin,” he said.
Bitcoin is one of the most popular types of cryptocurrency.
Litšiba says due to low levels of technological advancement in the country, he didn’t trust Bitcoin at the time. He then decided to read about cryptocurrency before investing.
“My aim was to test its legitimacy,” he said.
Litšiba said that he started creating an electron wallet and invested M1000.

He says although he did not trust it fully, the results were convincing as he started his withdrawals within three months.
“My profit was 300 percent,’’ he said.
Litšiba says due to lack of experience, he started withdrawing each time he needed money.
“I realise now that I have been misusing my treasure,’’ he says.
Litšiba explained that at the beginning of 2017, the price of Bitcoin on an exchange was about M12 214 (993 US dollars). The price surged during the year, peaking at about M241 695 (19 650 US dollars) in December 2017.

Litsiba said he could have reached a million dollars but he could not because he had few coins in his account.
Litšiba said according to market experts, “if you have little money, you must at least leave the investment for three to five years without tampering with it. This allows the profits to accumulate even more”.
Litšiba explains that the coins are sold by companies or individuals with knowledge and skills in the area. He says what is required is to open an account, buy coins and store them as long as you want to withdraw them in future.

Litšiba said cryptocurrency use block chain technology which ensures that all transactions are secure and cannot be tampered with by anyone.
“Cryptocurrency is more than just a digital money concept. It can turn into a job. My life has changed since I started using cryptocurrency,” he said.
Litšiba said he had no means of income in his first year of trading bitcoin and he was surviving on the withdrawals he was making. He said the money was enough to take care of his unemployed mother.
“I had more than enough not only to cover my basic living expenses but also for leisure and entertainment.

Litsiba said he has realised that cryptocurrency has the potential to make one a millionaire rather than using it just to sponsor one’s living expenses so he decided to give his investment more time to accumulate without making withdrawals.
“I am giving my investments the period of up to five years without tampering with them,” he said.

Litšiba reckons cryptocurrency has the potential to stir up the economy.
“If Basotho can invest and buy coins, people can have more money. This can reduce the stress of unemployment,” he said.
However, he urged people to seek information on digital money before investing as the sector is also attracting many unscrupulous people out to fleece investors.
Litšiba, who said he has been training people on digital money, said his desire is to see education on cryptocurrency spreading to primary school students.

Litšiba said he trained 20 students while he was a part-time instructor at Roma Agri-business and most of them are now operating their own accounts without his supervision.
Litšiba further mentioned that as part of his dream to spread information about cryptocurrency, he trained about 10 people for free.
“I wanted to test whether this can really work. To my surprise, it really worked,” he said.

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