The Bitcoin Foundation has announced its first affiliate group in Asia, with Bitcoin Foundation Bangladesh becoming the latest local advocacy group to join its international network.
The addition of Bangladesh means the Bitcoin Foundation has built an international chain of affiliates in just eight months. The newest member joins groups in Canada, Mexico, Australia, Germany, Denmark and Netherlands.
The Bangladesh team
An entrepreneur, motivational singer and musician, Sazeeb has been the driving force behind the new foundation chapter, with support from international bitcoin evangelist Roger Ver, who appears on the group's site as an official advisor.
Also on the Bangladesh board are local entrepreneurs Sadia Sultana Mou, Mizanur Rahman, and Jamil (no last name given).
"Our mission is to help people utilize the best solutions to help make their life easier," the group's website states.
While there are plenty of great opportunities in the marketplace, it continues, the right approach is needed to deliver the bitcoin message to that part of society who need its answers most. Bitcoin has the potential to dominate the entire payments industry, it adds.
Sazeeb is currently in the process of setting up websites to educate locals about bitcoin and the benefits it can bring. He has already formed an affiliate marketing program, Coinpiler, which pays its rewards in bitcoin.
Affiliate Director Mark Woods espoused the benefits of formal links with the Foundation for new bitcoin organizations, as opposed to spending the energy and resources required to build those structures from the ground up.
Affiliating with the Foundation provided the membership platform, educational collateral, sub-domain, email accounts and even hosted websites, he added, to make it easy to get started so new groups can focus on what's really important – outreach and education.
There were also Bangladesh's specific needs that the Bitcoin Foundation had identified and cooperated in preparing an agenda.
Bitcoin in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is the eighth most populated country in the world, with over 150 million people. Although still considered a 'developing country', it has an open and market-based economy driven mainly by agriculture and large-scale manufacturing industries.
As is the case with neighboring India and the Philippines, Bangladesh counts on remittances from foreign-based workers and even local employees sending money from large cities to small towns as a significant contributor to its GDP. Estimates put income from remittances in 2012-2013 at $14.5bn.
This would be an obvious use case for digital currency, though the usual hurdles of technology adoption, infrastructure costs and general awareness would need to be addressed, plus the need for affordable and reliable fiat currency to bitcoin gateways that exists in all countries.
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