Also on the list is the hack known to many in the telco/payments space whereby people in Africa began trading mobile phone minutes. This was partly to do with hyperinflation devaluing national currency in countries like Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana. The great thing about the trade in prepaid top-up cards and apps that send airtime is that it screamed the use case for mobile money in the Continent. The mobile money revolution in Africa, most famously characterised by Vodafone/Safaricom’s Mpesa, will be remembered as one of the great technological advancements of the 21st century.
Other alternatives considered include Shire Silver, tea bricks and bottle tops. The latter came into currency back in 2005, when a brewery in Cameroon placed prizes under beer caps to boost sales. When rival companies did the same, competition escalated resulting in a prize under almost every cap. Rewards ranged from free beer to sports cars and with a winning cap being worth the equivalent of $1 – the same price as a bottle of beer – people began exchanging the caps for goods and services.