Ugandan Bitcoiner dreams of the secular economy: BTC Prague 2023

A Ugandan Bitcoiner embarked on a community-funded trip from East Africa to Central Europe after winning tickets to BTC Prague for his adoption-driving efforts in his home country.

Brindon Mwiine, the founder of Ugandan-based Bitcoin (BTC) platform Gorilla Sats, set off on a whirlwind journey from Uganda’s capital Kampala to the heart of Europe on the back of a Twitter competition he never thought he would win.

The official @Bitcoin Twitter profile called for individuals to share their stories of building circular economies in their respective countries with tickets to BTC Prague, the prize for the would-be winner.

Mwiine, who hopes to build a budding Bitcoin community among Uganda’s student population, quickly found his individual pitch garnering plenty of attention from Bitcoin Twitter users across East Africa.

Related: How Bitcoin mining saved Africa’s oldest national park from bankruptcy

Speaking to Cointelegraph journalist Joe Hall at BTC Prague, Mwiine explained how his short Twitter pitch paved the road for a trip across the world.

“I saw all my community members come together, not just from Uganda. People from Kenya were voting, people from Tanzania were voting, it was overwhelming.”

Mwiine ended up winning the competition, which is where the real work began. What would follow was a series of firsts for the Ugandan, who managed to secure flights, visas and other logistics in the short space of three weeks.

“I had to figure out a way to get from Uganda to Prague and this is where the fun began. I had to create a pitch and a budget, I’d never flown before, never been on a plane, never been in Europe.”

The wider Bitcoin community also came to the party, donating sats to help fund Mwiine’s travels through BTC-based crowdfunding platform Geyser Fund:

“It’s one of the most interesting implementations of Lightning whereby people can crowdfund for you to do something. Ideally you make a pitch to the public and if they find that your project is worth it, they’ll send you some sats.”

With flights and costs checked off the list, Mwiine finally made his way to Europe for what would also be his first ever Bitcoin conference. His first ever airport experience added some stress to the experience, nearly missing a connecting flight in Dubai if not for the help of a fellow Ugandan airport worker.

Attending BTC Prague allowed Mwiine to rub shoulders with Bitcoin community members he’s looked up to in recent years, including the likes of BTC proponent Michael Saylor. Perhaps more importantly, Mwiine took some valuable lessons away from his interactions and experiences at different booths at the conference:

“What I’m trying to do back at home is create a circular economy. I’ve learned a lot just by being at the booth of circular economies. What they’re saying is exactly what I need. It’s surreal.”

Uganda’s central bank recently welcomed cryptocurrency businesses operating in the country to participate in its regulatory sandbox. This is set to include consultation with the Blockchain Association of Uganda to help create a framework for the industry in the East African nation.

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