The Spread of Bitcoin in Africa

  • December 25, 2018 at 5:17 pm #3731
    Angu Ransom
    Keymaster

    That African governments are not now regulating cryptocurrency may be a factor spurring its growth on the continent; however, there is no guarantee that governments will not change their current mindset.

    Rather than simply not wanting to, governments may be powerless to regulate cryptocurrency, the Nigerian central bank indicated recently. Currently tackling the country’s 12% inflation rate, the Nigerian apex bank announced that it could not control or regulate Bitcoin, “just the same way no one is going to control or regulate the internet. We don’t own it.”

    Fearing a collapse of the banking industry or arbitrary appropriation of money by the government, Africans without access to banks and who live in politically unstable countries could be attracted to cryptocurrency. “Bitcoin transactions help to eliminate the procedural bottlenecks that plague traditional banking and financial services,” Mr. Darko explains.

    Some 15 cryptocurrency-related operations began in Africa in the past year alone, reports Mr. Sharma. But South Africa–based Luno Exchange, established in 2013 and now boasting 1.5 million customers in over 40 countries worldwide, is the first to be based in Africa.

    Others, particularly cryptocurrency-based remittance services, are popping up in various countries. These services include Abra, which operates in Malawi and Morocco, GeoPay in South Africa, BitMari in Zimbabwe and London-based Kobocoin, which was launched by Nigerian entrepreneur Felix Onyemechi Ugoji.

    The Plaas Application is a mobile app that enables farmers to manage their stock on the blockchain.

    Launched in 2013, Kenya’s BitPesa facilitates virtual remittances transfers to both African and international locations, to and from individuals’ mobile wallets, where cryptocurrency is stored. LocalBitcoins.com in Kenya reported trading volumes in excess of $1.8 million as of December 2017, underlining the lucrativeness of the business.

    “I started mining Bitcoin [in Nairobi, Kenya] in September 2017 and, so far, this is the best business I have ever tried,” Gladys Laboi told Africa Renewal, adding: “Under six months, I earned $800 after investing in $700.”

    Not to be left out, some governments are moving into the virtual currency terrain. Tunisia’s eDinar is a government-issued digital currency. Senegal is in the process of creating eCFA, which, if successful, could be emulated by other Francophone countries in Africa.

    There will be government-issued cryptocurrencies in Africa in the near future, predicts Shireen Ramjoo, ceo of Liquid Crypto-Money, a South Africa-based cryptocurrency consulting firm.

    Industry experts believe that cryptocurrency will be around for years. That Bitcoin users can send money to just about anywhere there is an internet connection for relatively small fees and with no third-party interference is an advantage that standard government-issued currencies cannot offer.

    “Every single computer device on the surface of the planet with an internet connection can access information on the blockchain and make ‘transactional’ inputs onto it. The information cannot be distorted, deleted, modified or destroyed, and [the] computer device has the same information as everybody,” says Mr. Darko.

    Another recommendation is that transactions are anonymous, and users’ information is private and safe; there is little possibility of identity theft, which is common with other forms of digital payment.

    As of December 2017, the global demand for cryptocurrency had increased to the extent that a Bitcoin sold for $20,000. Its value had been $1,000 one year prior.
    Source: https://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/april-2018-july-2018/africa-could-be-next-frontier-cryptocurrency

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