There is an educational website for beginning crypto users called ZeFi. The site has helpful introductory lessons, some interesting articles and a look of sincerity, much like other sites. However, none of it is that different — at least not in English. Its special feature is the language button in the upper right corner that reveals the Arabic version of the website.

“There is really nothing about blockchain in Arabic. […] And once you find something in Arabic, it is mostly influencers that are trying to pump and dump coins,” ZeFi founder and CEO Karam Alhamad said. The Arabic version of ZeFi is fuller than the English. It has culturally informed examples and starts with the very basics.

“ZeFi started with the idea of explaining what is money first” to people who “have never used banks, or credit cards or PayPal, people who have no sense of what money is,” Alhamad said. To figure out how to explain blockchain, Alhamad and his associates went to their grandmothers to start.

ZeFi began as a Telegram group and made its premiere online in March of this year. It also retains its connection to the telephone. Internet access is scarce in some of ZeFi’s service areas, which is mainly Syria and Iraq, but nearly everyone has a mobile telephone, Alhamad said.

Translation challenges were everywhere — bull markets and bear markets, for example. Even “blockchain” was hard to translate, and it was hard to explain against a background of monarchies and dictatorships, where the centralization of power and order is complete. Nonetheless, ZeFi developed vocabulary…


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