Nobody has the exact same introduction to Bitcoin as the next person, but one thing is for sure, almost all of us didn’t believe or understand what we were hearing the first time someone approached us with phrases like “Digital Gold”, “Sovereign Money” & my personal favorite, “The best thing since the invention of the internet”.
When Bitcoin launched, a good amount of us were old enough to somewhat understand that there was something there, but what exactly it was, many of us had no time or inclination to pursue. Especially in 2009 when most were wondering how they’d make it through the years to come, not only in America, but definitely in Namibia, the rest of Africa and the World at large.
My journey, like so many others, is unique,while still possessing enough overlapping journeys to be just familiar enough. Let’s see by the end of this write-up, shall we. Oh, but how rude of me, just walking in like that and starting to share without introducing myself. I am Nikolai Tjongarero, better known as OKIN. Who is OKIN?
Well, I am a Bitcoin Maxi, Digital Entrepreneur, Published Poet and Social Commentator born and raised in Windhoek, Namibia. Having started my journey into poetry at the age of 13, which continued to run in unison with my studies up until after receiving my MBA in Beijing (China). It’s almost poetic how I ended up deep down the Bitcoin “Rabbit Hole” years later, from the comfort of home, after almost a decade of ignoring it.
Bitcoin truly is for every and anybody, anywhere.
I guess we will start at the beginning. In January of 2012 I had just returned to Namibia with an Honors Degree in International Business Administration and a bit of experience being published as a Poet in South African Print & Online Magazines and in Anthology. But I had no clue what was about to come my way. Myself and two Rappers created what would become one of the greatest Hip-Hop/Poetry Groups to come out of Namibia, Black Vulcanite, with our first project being ‘Remember the Future’.
It was also the year that I started looking into expanding my performance poetry while I was working for a bank in their Higher Purchase Loan’s department. Balloon Payments, not explained in the presence of a lawyer, should be illegal. Why am I telling you all this?
Well, because the Music Producer I went to for assistance was none other than BecomingPhill, who all three members did music with, but he was also the 1st person to say the word Bitcoin to me while we were sitting in his studio in mid-2012. I did not know what he was so excited about, I did not care, and I just wanted to do my own thing.
Phill didn’t push, he let it slide, for now, and he just urged me to look into it when I had some time. I did no such thing. I kept it moving, we got signed to a record deal, featured in publications, performed a lot and we started sharpening our skills even more.
Then 2016 came around & my life changed again. I got an opportunity to further my studies in China on a full Scholarship.With no second thought, I jumped at the chance, sold my car, got on a plane and went to see what the other side of the world was like.
I was sitting cozy in Beijing when suddenly people kept bombarding me for the next two years with invites to Blockchain events where they were going to discuss the future of money & commerce. While on holiday, I was completing my MBA and performing SLAM Poetry in Beijing and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia..
I refused and told them in no uncertain terms that I was definitely not there to study more than I already had. I told them that I would rather meet people from countries I’ve never been to and push my poetry to new heights. I received 2nd Place at the International Beijing Slam Poetry Competition for my efforts that year.
At the end of 2018/beginning of 2019, for the first time, I saw the use case for Bitcoin as I made my first purchase and transfer, out of frustration, from Western Union’s high fees & requirements. I was assisted through the entire process by none other than the man who had tried to introduce Bitcoin to me in 2012 in his studio, BecomingPhill. At this point he was running the sole Namibian Bitcoin Only Company, known today as Landifa.
It totally blew my mind that I could transfer value from Namibia to Dubai without having to pay to print out six months’ worth of bank statements, provide passport copies for receiver & sender, and incur a transfer fee. Instead, I could just receive an address and send the Bitcoin to it, which could then be sold to a broker on the other side, in person or electronically.
I had to know more, but once again, I took the “wrong” route. I decided to search for the “next Bitcoin” so that I could make some serious money and oh how determined I was. I started watching every video on trading while reading as many books & articles about technical analysis, risk management strategies, indicator settings, etc… I mean, I was determined to make a fortune trading all the coins I could get my hands on. But I was directing that determination with no knowledge of my end goal, so I started reading more.
I stand before you now and can say that I was a Shitcoiner and I was convinced I had everything figured out:
- I staked Eth 2.0 on Binance,
- I thought Cardano & Solana were going to do something great while I was on FTX
- I was running around in Decentraland going to events, raves & launch parties
- I even learned how to write new & edit existing, but unpublished, Smart Contracts using Solidity
- I posted three NFTs on OpenSea in an attempt to learn the entire process.
Then a slew of questions hit me:
- “How do I make money in Bitcoin if not through trading?
- Why was it first?
There has to be a reason it’s still not dead and why do so many of the other coins follow what it does?”
The more I questioned, the more I realized I knew nothing.
So during COVID I decided to throw my head into some reading and started running my own Node and learning how to read/write code through the Memo App so that I could understand what was going on with Bitcoin. After interviewing BecomingPhill about Bitcoin, at the start of Season 2 of my Podcast, #FromTheJump , that is when I ported it over to Podcasting 2.0 and the Rabbit Hole completely took me over.
In 2021 I decided it was time to do more and I conducted my first Bitcoin Edutainment (Educational & Entertainment based) Sessions, where I had people receive Bitcoin for part of their ticket money in order to put it directly in their hands. Every ticket had a QR code to download MUUN wallet from both App Stores and everyone received instructions on the installation process, in the form of a flyer, with their ticket purchase. When they arrived at the door and presented their ticket, half the value of sats for their ticket was sent to their MUUN wallet before they even entered the venue. This turned out to be very well-received and many decided to take their Bitcoin home instead of spending it at the event, effectively leaving as Hodlers.
Earning Bitcoin became like an addiction to me, from people streaming sats to me while they listened to conversations, to playing games, reading articles and even just exercising. I was earning sats everywhere it made sense and wherever I saw it popping up.
Then the big jump came, I read the Bitcoin Standard, completed the ‘Bitcoin for Everybody’ course & obtained my certificate from the Saylor Academy. I started diving into different parts of the technology while testing as many apps and building as many different hardware projects as I could. I became even more hooked.
Once I got comfortable with my node and gained a bit of the knowledge-base, I contacted the people I used to buy electronics from in China. I bought myself three Bitcoin Miners in the beginning of 2022 and a few months later we established BTC Mining Namibia and EasySats. We launched these two companies to help bring Bitcoin to my fellow Namibians and Africans across the continent.
With our current initiative, EasySats, we work to ensure that as many Namibians have easy access to their satoshis. EasySats accomplishes this by ensuring the method of redemption is as familiar as recharging a mobile phone with airtime. At the same time, EasySats brings the barrier of entry for a purchase down to as little as 20 Namibian Dollars (USD 1.17), from the roughly 300 Namibian Dollars (USD 17.70) it costs on an exchange. Not to mention the requirement of KYC and a bank account to transact, which many day laborers, farm workers or even villagers simply do not possess.
With the combination of Azteco Bitcoin Vouchers, through EasySats, bringing consumer Bitcoin to the masses is within reach. Furthermore, an app called Machankura is making it possible to use phones that have no internet capabilities (Feature Phones) to send, receive & spend Bitcoin. The Mission of EasySats and many other worldwide Bitcoin organizations is one of collaboration and their impacts are great in Africa.
With that, I’ll leave you with this personal statement on Bitcoin…
Bitcoin isn’t about banking the unbanked, it’s about un-banking everyone, while freeing us to transact with anyone we choose to, around the globe, without needing anyone’s permission to do so.
This is a guest post by Nikolai Tjongarero. You can follow him on Twitter @okin_17. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Satoshi’s Journal or Satoshi’s Entertainment Company.