block chain africa

Cryptocurrencies and Banks in Africa

Bitcoin and blockchain technology are all set for widspread adoption in Africa, where the population is well positioned to adopt these innovative technologies as alternatives to expensive and/or outdated banking systems, scattered throughout the continent

The lack of economic infrastructure and inadequate financial education have deprived a large part of the African bank accounts or basic monetary means. However, in many countries, the proliferation of smartphones has allowed access to alternative financial services, which have become a dominant payment method, especially among the young.

The Bitcoin appeal is in large part due to its accessibility and its inclusiveness, but the component “without trust” usage of cryptocurrencies also solves the problem of long-standing distrust of Africans against the banks on the online payment platforms.

The community African pro-crypto has officially launched the first multinational cryptocurrencies of the continent, Nuru corner, in February. Many hope that it will facilitate trade between African countries and will provide financial services to people who otherwise, would never have had access to a traditional bank account. But its widespread adoption requires a greater awareness of the potential benefits of the technology.

Increasing Use of Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology

The anticipation of a technological revolution in Africa has intensified since end of 2017. Governments showed little consistency in their approach, and in their attitude to the crypto market, thriving on the continent. But the underlying sentiment against cryptocurrencies, and their decentralisation, is that they can provide humanitarian aid and transform the lives of underserved populations.

The list below is based on extensive research, but don’t must in no case be considered as complete. If you have more detailed information on banks and their relationship with cryptocurrencies in your country, we encourage you to share them in the comments section

South Africa

South Africa launched its first project government crypto, the UBU project by the end of 2017. Like other projects to help poor families, the UBU project goal is to distribute a universal basic income to disadvantaged South Africans.

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are popular in South Africa, where financial institutions take incremental steps to get involved in the industry. The Blockchain Africa conference meets annually from 2015 in Johannesburg, in partnership with IBM and Microsoft, the largest contributors to the technological development of Africa over the last century.

The South African reserve Bank has implemented a program of financial technology, which aims to analyze the evolution of the technology and to advise the Government on the appropriate regulations. In addition, it launched a blockchain project based on technology Ethereum and will experiment interbank payments.

Although the Government has not established clear rules for the use of “virtual currencies”, he does not recognize Bitcoin as legal tender, and the South African Revenue Service considers that the crypto-monetary intangible assets are subject to the normal rules of the income tax.

First, Blockchain the Central Bank of Nigeria announced a study on virtual currencies in August 2017, aiming to bring together stakeholders to reflect and exchange ideas, demonstrating that the country is a leader in the regulation of blockchain and Bitcoin in Africa.


Shortly after, the Blockchain Education Network of Nigeria and the Nigeria User Group Blockchain hosted the first conference on the blockchain of the country, where ten startups and countless industry leaders were present. They discussed incentives to bring the startups of the blockchain in Nigeria.

Another conference was organized in Nigeria by Techpoint, expected to more than 5,000 people. But the active technology community has not yet received regulatory response or guidance from the Government.

But things could soon change. Earlier in April, the House [ 1]

the lower house of the Nigerian National Assembly passed a bill entitled “Need to regulate applications of the blockchain and Internet technology” and asked the central bank to help create a regulatory framework for the development of blockchains and other technologies.


The Bank of Uganda issued a warning to investors about the risks associated with cryptocurrencies in March 2017. However, this has not prevented global investors from opening stock exchanges in the country and looking for opportunities to strengthen the market. Ugandan economy.

Recent reports show that the Ugandan government is interested in using blockchain technology to provide basic public services, and to better position Uganda in the global market, which is largely fueled by technological innovations. A conference organized by is scheduled for next month, during which leaders will discuss viable plans to integrate the blockchain into the economy.

The Ugandan organization Crypto Savannah joined forces with the current crypto exchange number 1, Binance, last April, to support the country’s economic development, considered the poorest country in the world, with a GDP of $ 2,000 per capita and 77% unbanked population.


The Central Bank of Kenya issued a warning to banks in April, urging them to reject transactions and entities related to cryptocurrencies, and equating Bitcoin with a pyramid scheme. But Kenyan investors have not yet seen clear regulatory guidelines.

The governor of the central bank has expressed support for blockchain technology, although banks have maintained a cautious and skeptical attitude towards the digital currency since 2015.

Finterra, a blockchain-based global services company, has formally established a Kenyan company, in response to increased interest in the blockchain, after President Uhuru Kenyatta said the country should explore the utility potential of the technology.

A blockchain working group was created under the President’s directive in March. Many enthusiasts hope that distributed registry technologies will be used for the land registry, and to strengthen existing mobile money services.

Kenya’s largest mobile network operator is responsible for launching M-Pesa, the mobile money and mobile payment service, which has 30 million users and is increasingly calling into question the dominance of the traditional bank. However, regulatory uncertainty in Kenya led M-Pesa to deny services to Bitcoin’s commercial platforms.


In early 2017, a local Bitcoin-enthusiast compared the use of cryptocurrencies in Egypt to the use of narcotics, claiming that one of his friends had been jailed without trial for using

In mid-2017, when reports came out of allegations that the first bitcoin exchange platform had been launched in the country, the Central Bank of Egypt reiterated the legal status of cryptocurrency and denied any exchange authorization. The legality of cryptocurrency is covered by Egyptian law which stipulates that transactions with foreign entities should be limited to official banks only, and also prohibits electronic banking transactions.

Despite the recent announcement of an Islamic cleric claiming that virtual currencies are halal, there is confusion in Egypt as to the acceptance of digital currency under Sharia law. Historically speaking, Islam only recognizes “goods of intrinsic value” as acceptable currency.

The government is systematically opposed to cryptocurrencies, but recently it has allowed the Central Bank of Egypt to join the US R3 Blockchain consortium to experiment with these evolving technologies.


The Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, attended by more than 4,000 delegates, including heads of state, technology companies, production line experts, government regulators, investment banks and venture capital companies, was held recently from 7 to 10 May.

The diversity of participation with representatives from the public and private sectors and the theme of the conference, “Accelerating Africa’s Digital Single Market”, is exemplary of the collective effort of leaders to ensure that Africa is not left behind in the digital revolution ahead.

The National Bank of Rwanda published earlier this year a document detailing the bank’s position on cryptocurrencies and the potential risks associated with the new cryptocurrency market in relation to established financial institutions. The bank has concluded that its preparations for the adoption of cryptocurrencies include the creation and regulation of a currency belonging to the bank.

The Kenyan-based online payment platform, Bitpesa, has expanded to East Africa since its inception at the end of 2013, but the cryptocurrency trend has not faced a regulatory response from the governments of the region. . The warning of the National Bank of Rwanda, however, proves that the monetary authorities of these countries are preparing for the next wave of technology.


At the end of last year, Zimbabwe’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, announced that bitcoin is not considered a legal tender. During a period marked by political turbulence, the bank claims to engage in research and development of possible regulations for cryptocurrency markets but the future of Bitcoin is still uncertain because there have been no proposed regulations.

The central bank’s announcement came just days after a military coup successfully toppled the Zimbabwean government, pushing Bitcoin’s price up 10 percent on Golix, the country’s largest cryptocurrency market.

Golix allegedly opened Bitcoin ATMs in the capital and loaded them with US dollars last month. Zimbabwe has recorded some of the worst inflation levels in modern history and has recently abandoned its national currency for a multi-currency system that relies heavily on the US dollar.


Observers took note of Bitcoin’s growth in Tanzania when trading volume on the stock market, LocalBitcoins, peaked last summer. The increased use of Bitcoin in Tanzania is a significant indicator of cryptocurrency expansion.

The Central Bank of Tanzania has commented on the recent spike in bitcoin prices in March by linking it to market speculation, and warned investors who buy and sell in this high-risk market. Bitcoin first caught the bank’s attention last December, and since then has been closely studying Bitcoin to create a viable regulation in the future.

The Tanzanian government has not officially banned cryptocurrencies, and the country’s crypto community is awaiting regulatory guidance from the bank and other regional regulators.


Although there is no Bitcoin exchange in Botswana, the country maintains a small but active cryptocurrency and a pro-blockchain community. Many traders go to neighboring countries like South Africa to use exchanges, vending machines, or use online trading groups.

However, Batswana have been interested in Blockchain and held the very first Bitcoin and Blockchain summit in 2016. The country currently has three blockchain startups, all designed to meet the needs of a largely unbanked population.

The Bank of Botswana has not issued any regulations for the market and, by the end of 2017, has stated that it has no interest in studying cryptocurrencies in general.


In 2015, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated a research grant to a Ghanaian startup, Bitsoko, whose goal is to promote the acceptance of mobile money for everyday use and to provide a pay-per-view system. efficient and cheap cross-border payment.

However, Ghanaian banks limit the use of cryptocurrencies for fear of fraudulent use, such as money laundering and terrorist financing.

Ghana’s central bank announced earlier this year that Bitcoin is not legally recognized, but hinted at an interest in blockchain technology to improve payment and settlement systems.


The Moroccan Foreign Exchange Authority and the Central Bank have officially banned cryptocurrency transactions at the end of 2017, and the sending and receiving of payments is punishable by a fine. The Foreign Exchange Authority insisted that all foreign payments must go through authorized intermediaries and the central bank.


The National People’s Congress of Algeria has proposed a finance bill at the end of 2017 that will declare the use and ownership of Bitcoin illegal if it is promulgated.

Other provisions in the bill deal with the possibility of cryptocurrencies being used for illegal activities, such as drug trafficking and tax evasion, which is likely a major concern for the government.


The Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Technology signed an agreement with the Cardano startup earlier this month. The Memorandum of Understanding signed by both parties aims to guide the development of the production chain and training for the country’s agro-technical industry.

Specifically, the ministry would collaborate with Cardano to create a blockchain app for coffee shipments, the country’s largest export.

Sierra Leone

The hype focused on the possibility that Sierra Leone used blockchain technology to count votes in the last presidential election and ended with disappointments and allegations.

The National Electoral Commission responded to media speculation and denied using the Agora voting technology company for national elections. Agora also responded by saying that she plays a legitimate role as an international observer, but that she has no official function in terms of electoral results.

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