Bitcoin Ekasi: Bitcoin Circular Economy in South Africa

Bitcoin Ekasi is a non-profit organization establishing a bitcoin circular economy in Mossel Bay, South Africa.


Bitcoin Ekasi is a non-profit organization establishing a bitcoin circular economy in an impoverished township in Mossel Bay, South Africa. As of now, the organization has successfully convinced a total of 13 shops to accept Bitcoin payments.

The organization was founded in 2021 by Hermann Vivier, the co-founder of Surfer Kids, after he was inspired by Bitcoin Beach project in El Salvador. The main goal of Surfer Kids is to empower young people financially and personally by teaching them how to surf and about Bitcoin.

The kids receive rewards in bitcoin for maintaining good grades at school and the Surfer Kids’ coaches receive a small amount of their salaries in bitcoin, which they then spent buying groceries at the community shops that accept bitcoin.

Bitcoin Ekasi pays these coaches’ salaries with Bitcoin, while simultaneously on-boarding township vendors to accept Bitcoin as payment. This allows the coaches to spend their SATs buying groceries in the township, thereby introducing Bitcoin into the township economy.

All of this happens over the Lightning Network. Bitcoin’s layer-two scaling solution, designed to expand the transaction throughput of the Bitcoin network to a truly global scale.

Why Bitcoin economy in a South African township?

The organisation explains on its website why it decided to promote bitcoin circular economy in an underprivileged area:

  • To expand upon the empowerment already effected in this community by The Surfer Kids and, through Bitcoin, spread that empowerment wider than the physical limits of the organization itself.
  • To show that it’s possible. Because debates around ‘why Bitcoin cannot work’ all miss the point.

In October 2022, the organization opened the Bitcoin Ekasi Center to teach local kids, business owners, and entrepreneurs about financial literacy and bitcoin. The center was built with financial help from Paxful and the Built With Bitcoin Foundation.

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Mossel Bay, South Africa


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