The birth of something great
Dear ZIMBOCASH family
We’re still here. Working hard towards our goal of sound-money. We have not forgotten about you.
So here is an update about us. If this is your first fireside chat, we’ll tell you a bit about ourselves.
We started about two years ago. The team we had was mostly a collective of people who are passionate about sound-money, and who are passionate about Zimbabwe.
We have been saying for several years that money printing causes inflation and that as the Zim dollar/RTGS/bond notes were being printed on a large scale, that this would lead to widespread pain in society. We aren’t against the government, but we have firmly believed that the only way to solve the inflation crisis in the nation is to fix the supply of money – which is known as sound-money.
With this basic goal, and after many months of research and meetings, we launched our sign-up database at the end of November 2018. It was a simple WordPress system. We had no idea where this would lead to but we knew it was something special.
Fast-forward 18 months and after two national roadshows around Zimbabwe, we had 30 000 subscribers and 350 ambassadors. Our tech team had been working hard on creating our ZASH blockchain which went live at the end of April 2020 with 4.5 billion ZASH tokens as the fixed money supply. A month later, and we launched on a large crypto exchange, Bithumb Global.
Our subscriber base had grown to 60 000 subscribers. However, the critical thing for us was to integrate the ZASH token into an online wallet that people could access like an online bank account.
Our tech team had been working every day for six months to get this live. It was a feat of pure brilliance and on June 22nd, we had a soft-launch where people could make payments. We had been testing the system for weeks and we weren’t sure how many support calls we would get so we didn’t tell anyone that we were going live.
Within minutes, our social media channels went off-the-hook. In a day, we had over 1000 transactions. More was to come as the system just exploded. Three days later, we were at 12 000 transactions and by the end of the first week, we had 93 000 transactions on the blockchain. We had a further 60 000 users join our system.
We had a medium term goal of 100 000 transactions which we thought we could achieve in a few months. We did that in a week! It was such a rush.
In that week, we had entire market places being established facilitating payments. People in Zimbabwe are desperate for a sound-money solution that is available to all people.
However, six days into our launch, we received notice that a few WhatsApp groups had been set up to try to create spam accounts. People had learned how to get around our identity validations.
We had spent so much time developing the payments infrastructure, that we had not given rigorous enough thought to our identity validations.
What did we do next?
We had to take the system down. We were distraught. We had worked so hard for so long and we realised that if we left the system up that it would become filled with spammers creating multiple accounts.
Our team was exhausted at this stage. The first thing we did was we all took a weekend off. We needed a break after working so hard for so long.
The break didn’t last long and we immediately set to work trying to find out how to best validate users. We interviewed over 30 different organisations and possible service providers. The problem is that the going rate for an online identity verification using third party software is about $1-$2 for every user we wanted to verify. If we got a million users, we could have a $1m bill just for verifications!
That wasn’t going to work. We had to come up with an alternative. Our approach has always been to find creative solutions. We could find a way out of this but it required a deep understanding of the available options and lots of planning.
Our only hope was for us to develop our own system for verifications, including the various machine learning technologies which we couldn’t do on our own, but we could do with appropriate partnerships.
Fortunately, our tech guys are geniuses (we think), and they have worked out a solution by partnering with Amazon and Telegram .
We think the solution works but it will need some time to test and refine.
How we validate users
As part of this verification, you will need to upload a copy of your Zim ID plus a selfie pic before you receive your ZIMBOCASH allocation. It sounds simple but trust us, there is a lot of development work done in the background to catch spammers.
If you just want to open a ZASH account without receiving your ZASH allocation, all you have to do is verify your phone. You will be able to receive payment from others and you will be able to verify your ID at a later stage.
So where are we now?
As of today, we have 158 000 subscribers and growing by the day. Zimbabwe is in a desperate space with inflation rates of 1200% or more. Many people living on less than $1 per day.
Our solution should be ready in the next few weeks. We believe we can grow very quickly, so please bear with us now and after we enable payments again.
Our heart is for Zimbabwe, and it is for sound-money. We believe that the situation in this country that we love can change radically with the implementation of sound-money.
We’ll keep you posted on next steps soon.
If you refer others using your account number, you can earn more. The allocations are halving at the end of September.
The ZIMBOCASH Team
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