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Will Africa Be The Next Frontier For Cryptocurrency?

Author: Martin Moni
Martin Moni
All publications of the author

At Top Brokers, we talk a lot about different cryptocurrencies, their regulation and how one should invest in them. Most of the time, though, we tend to focus on the biggest crypto markets in the world such as China, South Korea, the US, etc. We, like many experts, often overlook the impact coins have had in Africa and how widespread their use is. In fact, several countries in Africa have been making huge leaps ahead of the rest without the world even taking notice, but we did. 

In order to learn about what’s trending, few indicators are as relevant as Google Trends. In the past 5 years, the search term Bitcoin has been especially common in African countries as you can see from the image below. As a matter of fact, the countries of Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana occupy the top 3 positions in the number of searches, proving that there is definitely a lot of interest in crypto within Africa.

Why is it that Africa is rarely mentioned yet it shows so much interest in crypto. Find out in this post as we look at the history of crypto in Africa and see whether or not it might become the next frontier in future. 

History of coins in Africa

The history of crypto in Africa is pretty much the same as that the world over since Bitcoin was created in 2008. Interest in coins grew particularly sharply through 2017 during the crypto boom of that year and many Africans got interested in trading, hodling and investing in coins. But this only shows that there is a general interest in coins similar to other parts of the world. In the case of Africa, there were also some unique factors that sped up adoption and interest. (Read more about the: iExec RLC Price Prediction and Forecast for 2020)

South Sudan's inflation rate was 102% between September 2016 and September 2017, as per the World Bank. Different nations with twofold digit inflation rates incorporate Egypt, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is nothing unexpected that a portion of these nations is among the principle Bitcoin economies in Africa. The principle Bitcoin nations as of now are Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe, as indicated by gobitcoin.io, a site devoted to Bitcoin news in Africa. The BBC includes that digital money is making strides in Uganda as well in recent times. (WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook: Who is Going To Be The Next Global Payments Leader?)

At the point when Zimbabwe's inflation soared in 2015, driving the government to print $100 trillion notes (every value just $40), a few Zimbabweans went to Bitcoin. Zimbabweans and residents of other African nations execute in Bitcoin "instead of their local currencies, which are tormented with hyperinflation," remarks Emmanuel Tokunbo Darko, VP of showcasing for ICOWatchlist.com, a platform that hosts digital currency tokens. 

Reports show that there will be 725 million cell phone supporters in Africa by 2020, as indicated by the GSM Association, which speaks to the interests of global mobile operators. That implies more Africans will have the instruments to plug into the digital currency environment, says Mr Sharma. This can be observed in the sentiments issued by many individuals on the continent. "I check my Bitcoin consistently [on my portable phone] and any possibility I can get. Any moment, any hour, whenever, as frequently as possible," Peace Akware, a Ugandan millennial, told the BBC. (Central Bank Regulation: What is happening with the Forex Industry in Russia in 2020?)

The fact that African governments are not presently regulating cryptographic money might be a factor prodding its development on the mainland. Be that as it may, there is no assurance that administrations won't change their present outlook. 

Instead of essentially not having any desire to, governments might be weak to manage cryptographic money, the Nigerian national bank demonstrated as of late. As of now handling the nation's 12% inflation rate, the Nigerian central bank declared that it couldn't control or direct Bitcoin, "simply the same way nobody is going to control or manage the web. We don't claim it." (As it continues to spread, discover: How Coronavirus Will Blow Crypto Markets in 2020)

Dreading a breakdown of the banking industry or the arbitrary appropriation of money by the administration, Africans without access to banks and who live in politically temperamental nations could be pulled in to cryptographic money. "Bitcoin exchanges help to take out the procedural bottlenecks that plague conventional banking and money-related services," Mr Darko clarifies. 

Exactly 15 digital money-related projects started in Africa in the previous year alone, reports Mr. Sharma. Yet, South Africa–based Luno Exchange, set up in 2013 and now flaunting 1.5 million clients in more than 40 nations around the world, was the first to be situated in Africa. Others, especially digital money based payment services, are springing up in different nations. These services incorporate Abra, which works in Malawi and Morocco, GeoPay in South Africa, BitMari in Zimbabwe and London-based Kobocoin, which was propelled by Nigerian business person Felix Onyemechi Ugoji. The Plaas Application is a portable application that empowers ranchers to deal with their stock on the blockchain. (Calm Before the Storm: What to Expect from Crypto Industry in 2020-2021)

Propelled in 2013, Kenya's BitPesa encourages virtual settlements moves to both African and worldwide areas, to and from people's versatile wallets, where digital currency is put away. LocalBitcoins.com in Kenya revealed exchanging volumes in an abundance of $1.8 million as of December 2017, underlining the benefit of the business. (Get ready to trade using our: ICON Price Predictions and Forecast for 2020)

Other individuals are looking at the business from a different perspective - mining. "I began mining Bitcoin [in Nairobi, Kenya] in September 2017 and, up until this point, this is the best business I have ever attempted," Gladys Laboi revealed to Africa Renewal, including: "Under a half year, I earned $800 in the wake of investing only $700." This further goes to show how people are taking a crack at crypto from different angles. 

Not to be forgotten about, a few governments are moving into the virtual money territory. Tunisia's eDinar is an official digital currency. Senegal is making eCFA, which, if fruitful, could be copied by other Francophone nations in Africa. We have already begun to see similar efforts around the world by governments and central banks, most importantly the digital yuan from the Chinese government. Should Tunisia and Senegal achieve their goal, then these African nations would be at the forefront of actual innovation. (If you’re a crypto trader, you should be aware of these: Top 5 Important Events In The Crypto World In 2020)

There will be official cryptographic forms of money in Africa sooner rather than later, predicts Shireen Ramjoo, president of Liquid Crypto-Money, a South Africa-based digital money counselling firm. Industry specialists accept that digital money will be around for quite a long time. That Bitcoin clients can send cash to pretty much anyplace there is a web connection for moderately little charges and with no outside impedance is a bit of leeway that standard officially sanctioned monetary forms can't offer. (The world is awaiting as: Bitcoin Cash Halves The Mining Reward 2020)

"Each and every PC gadget on the outside of the planet with a web association can get to data on the blockchain and make 'value-based' inputs onto it. The data can't be twisted, erased, adjusted or annihilated, and [the] PC gadget has a similar data as everyone," says Mr. Darko. Another suggestion is that exchanges are mysterious, and clients' data is private and safe; there is little chance of fraud, which is regular with different types of advanced payment. 

Why cryptocurrency is perfectly suited for Africa

The penetration and application of cryptocurrencies around the world have not been steady across the world. That is why we have certain countries in the world that produce the majority of trades within any given day such as China, Japan and South Korea. Africa is one such region where there has been a remarkable interest in coins as we have already seen from the google trends graph above. There are several reasons for this interest, and we shall consider the main ones. (Bitcoin SV Genesis Hard Fork 2020: What's New?)

Lack of access to conventional banking systems

Most individuals in developed countries acquire a bank account and credit card as soon as they are legally able to. For this reason, there is little reason to consider alternative forms of payment, especially since most services and systems are already associated with banks. The situation is not the same around the world, and more so in Africa as the image below shows. A majority of adults in Africa either lack access to conventional banking systems or simply don’t have the knowledge to go about it. That leaves a huge gap between the services they need and the systems that can assist in attaining those services. 

For the most part, money related services have been taken up by telecom companies that provide mobile money. The most renowned of these is M-Pesa in Kenya that is practically used by every adult in the country. Similar services have cropped up in other African nations, but none has been as successful. Regardless, it is this lack of access to banking services that mostly propels Africans to consider cryptocurrencies. (Everyone should be aware of the: 2020 Bitcoin Halving Warning Update)

Inasmuch as mobile money services have attempted to fill the gap and bring financial services to the individuals, the services can still be quite costly. Moreover, the service is limited to particular geographic locations, making it difficult to make cross-border payments and send remittances. Finally, while more Africans are getting mobile phones, the growth of subscribers has been glacial, meaning that there are still millions who don’t have access even to mobile banking services. (Learn about the: New Rules and Crypto Regulations in Germany As Of 2020)

While cryptocurrencies won’t solve all these problems, they do solve the biggest hurdles most Africans face. For one, coins are borderless, meaning that cross-border payments are possible without any additional cost. Sending money typically requires conversion fees to change from one currency to another, but this is not a problem with cryptocurrencies. Thus, sending or receiving money from one country to another will be as easy as doing so to a friend next door. Speaking of cost, transaction costs on the blockchain are much more affordable compared to either bank transfers or mobile banking. In fact, some crypto networks have such low fees that sending coins is practically free.

Government instability and failing structures

As the world is experiencing technological improvement at an extraordinary and dangerous pace, considered the "Fourth Industrial Revolution," several African countries are lagging behind. This exponential development will change the way people live, work, and relate to each other. These progressions are additionally quickened by the approach of blockchain innovation and are already discernable on the African mainland. (Find out more about: OmiseGo (OMG) Coin and Price Prediction for 2020)

With many countries still grappling with the effects of generations of colonialism and war, Africa's frameworks and foundation are severely broken. Built from the bones abandoned by their colonizing countries, little change has been seen except the breakdown from age. That is why most African countries are as yet viewed as ‘developing’ - some 50 years post-colonization - and many keep on battling with conflict, corruption, and poverty. (To The Moon: Most Promising Asian Crypto Companies 2020)

In all this lies Africa's most noteworthy chance: to use blockchain innovation from the very beginning over each industry, efficiently. Today, a lot of Africa has a chance to avoid the advancement slip-ups of the West by rethinking entire frameworks of production, finance and government powered by blockchain. (Learn everything you need to about the: Launch of The Binance Decentralized Exchange Future (DEX))

While still in the early period, decentralized advancements in Africa have prevailed with regards to picking up what the administration could not. We shall see in the next sections how various crypto projects in Africa have been used to address social, political and economic problems in areas such as finance, agriculture and healthcare. Going forward, we can expect to see a lot more adoption and innovation as entrepreneurs utilize blockchain technology to fill the gap left behind by crippled systems and government. 

Convenience and investment

Anyone can recognize the convenience that is brought about by cryptocurrencies, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that retailers and outlets in some African countries are already accepting Bitcoin as payment. In addition, investing in coins makes a lot of sense because there is a lot of potential in the industry. There have already been some crypto millionaires to come from Africa, and more people are investing actively in these coins. Even for the investors who may not have enough capital to purchase coins from an exchange, an increasing number of CFD trading brokers have made it possible to participate. Through the use of leverage, even a small capital can be sufficient to generate decent profits. (Here’s an interesting question: Will Crypto Trading Become Popular in Islamic Countries?)

Successful crypto projects in Africa

There have already been a number of crypto projects being carried out in Africa, but for now, we’re going to focus on 5 impactful projects that are already active. 

Sela Labs

More than 13 million barrels of raw petroleum has been spilt in the Niger Delta since 1958. The impact has been pulverizing for freshwater and angling. With Nigeria's populace at 15% of the entirety of Africa and one-6th of that populace living in the delta, the normal age is just 18 years of age, making it an emergency by any standard. For both the dominant tribe Igbo and minority Ogoni clans, there is a feeling that the administration has abandoned them. 

Enter Chi Nnadi, who established Sela and Sustainability International when he perceived that would not be done through science, as natural answers for the spills were promptly accessible. Or maybe, it was an issue of data and capital heading out to the correct sources. This was generally clear in an $84M settlement won by the Village of Bodo from Shell in 2015, a large portion of which got 'lost' in appropriation. (Here is the: UNUS SED LEO Price Prediction 2020)

Chi Nnadi is hoping to lighten this weight by building a scaffold between government, community and investors. The original system was done through a WhatsApp group where local people would make reports with pictures of oil slicks, shortening the cleanup reaction time from months to weeks. This is when Nnadi got his big idea - sending money directly to the individual who spotted the leak, or even those helping with cleanup? (Here is the: THETA Coin Investment and Price Prediction 2020)

Joining forces with Katapult Accelerator and Stanford Global Projects Center, Sela is building a stage which permits investors, governments and contributors hoping to convey capital into the locale to use blockchain to track and measure their interests in Africa. 

Cardano

To lead its drives on the mainland, Cardano tapped John O'Connor to set up a home office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the desire to venture into Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa. O'Connor was the ideal man for the assignment, where aptitudes and skill aligned. English raised and Oxford-taught, John has stayed faithful to his maternal Ethiopian roots and saw directly how land-titling questions and debasement have influenced his family. He reviews an account of a man paying off an administration official, to take guarantee to his family lands. 

Most African nations experience the ill effects of a deficiency of trust, though in the Western setting institutional trust is regularly underestimated. In Africa trust comes including some hidden costs. On account of land titling, the issue is straightforward - in the event that you don't know your claim a real estate parcel, or you can't demonstrate that you possess it, for what reason would you need to build on it? A similar postulation applies to getting paid for your work or products. This friction between the physical and the computerized universes is the place Cardano sees its most noteworthy chance. (Ethereum 2.0 Launch 2020: What’s new?)

IOHK tries to handle Africa's improvement head-on, first in agribusiness, hoping to jump several years of foundation and in any event, propelling its own supply chain for trading coffee on fair trade. Beside ag-tech, Cardano sees its future potential effect in different regions of business forms, land titling, human services, open transportation and, obviously, payments. 

Wala

Africa has since quite a while ago fought with stability in its currencies, absence of money related foundation and also financial literacy. The best response to date has been M-Pesa, started in Kenya. Network carriers essentially took the responsibility of creating a centralized financial node that could be accessed by anyone on a mobile phone. Similar services quickly spread to Uganda, Rwanda and other countries in Africa and beyond.

The only problem with the system is that it is a bit costly, with charges levied even on the smallest transactions. Enter Tricia Martinez, the CEO of Wala that is a response to money-based economies. Wala gives a multi-chain arrangement, using both Ethereum for its smart contract abilities and Stellar for its payments processing, to more than 150,000 clients. Wala's large vision is to modify the monetary framework in Africa and incorporate those that are un(der)banked, beginning with shared payments, remittances and credit. (As you consider divesting, consider these: Most Secure and Regulated Stablecoins of 2020)

StudEx Wildlife 

After discovering Bitcoin in 2010, Tumelo Ramaphosa began to ideate StudEx, a computerized form of his family ranch inside the cryptographic space. This immediately developed to a movement that would secure and conserve rare wildlife through capital focused on specific impact. 

Together with IBM and Cardano, StudEx utilizes IoT to demoralize unlawful poaching through following the area of the creature, their pulse, and other critical movements, all on-chain. The objective is to utilize more innovation and less human contact, to permit the creatures to wander normally. (Before you commit any money to the project: Find Out More About Tezos and Its Price Prediction For 2020)

StudEx likewise takes ownership of an entire animal (through an ERC-721 non-fungible token) or part possession (through an ERC-20 token), which gets helpful as certain uncommon creatures can go up to $11M in cost. The token holders possess the resemblance of the creature and can sell or exchange it, like CryptoKitties. Once bought, the assets return into preservation to secure the species and advance reproducing. 

CryptoSavannah 

Driving the arrangements advancement and training endeavours in Uganda, Kwame Rugunda propelled CryptoSavannah. CryptoSavannah decided to concentrate firmly on instruction, making a talented workforce in Uganda and encompassing nations, prepared on Cardano and Ethereum. Most prominently, the association is effectively supporting "woman engineers," through its African Women In Blockchain Initiative (AWIBI) wanting to accomplish gender equality in the space.

Rugunda likewise as of late banded together with Cardano and Binance to help the monetary advancement of the nation and progressing impact activities, including encouraging crypto gifts to 1,300 casualties of landslides.

Problems facing the adoption of crypto in Africa

The road to crypto use in Africa has not been easy, and there have been a lot of hurdles to the spread of coins including:

Absence of digital money adoption

While Africans keep on broadly utilizing mobile phones and mobile money for cash movement the region over, they despite everything slack in embracing the digital money. Despite the fact that the utilization of the Internet in Africa has spread greatly, it still only represents 10% of the worldwide populace. Digital forms of money require smartphone use, yet many adults in Africa use phones that are incapable of handling these transactions. (Investors can now enjoy safe coin trading as: Swiss Banks Start Offering Crypto Trading To Their Clients)

Poor infrastructure and systems

Added to this are the frequent power blackouts that further log jam the procedure. Imagine running a crypto mining farm that often goes dark because of power blackouts? This is the unfortunate reality for most individuals in Africa, particularly in rural areas far from major cities. Further, the identity check procedure turns into an extraordinary obstruction that presently can't seem to be settled. A majority of the individuals leave the signup process at the point where they need to prove their identities. Unlike developed nations, many adults do not have passports, driving licenses and other identification documents, making it impossible to be signed on to a crypto exchange that requires KYC/AML. (Do you know: What Would Happen To BTC Price When It Is All Mined?)

Fraud and scams

Like any other person around the world, people are afraid to lose their money and are thus sceptical about converting their fiat currency to crypto. There have been several cases of fraud occurring in Africa where individuals and investors were ripped off in crypto scams. The most recent case happened in Uganda where the company Dunamiscoins Resources Limited made away with $2.7 million in about 1,000 investors’ funds. After operating for a few months between March and November 2019, the Ponzi scheme collapsed, as they all do eventually, leaving its investors in the lurch. 

Populace disparity 

"We should cooperate to guarantee the fair appropriation of riches, opportunity, and influence in our general public." Nelson Mandela said these words when Africa was rising up out of bigotry and politically-sanctioned racial segregation. The African destitution rate has been on the bounce back since 2015. Nonetheless, by and large, pay imbalance stays an issue. As indicated by a report by UNDB, South Africa is at the highest priority on the rundown of the most elevated levels of salary imbalance. 

These sorts of issues have kept Africa a long ways behind in the race of innovation. Africa needs training and abilities to beat these sorts of issues, and innovation like a blockchain can help conquer these sorts of issues.

Regulation

Most governments have been indifferent when it comes to coins, going only as far as warning residents to be careful about investing there. None has created any specific laws regarding cryptocurrency, but few have completely banned the industry. Examples are Namibia, Zambia, Algeria, Morocco and Libya. These countries hamper the spread of cryptocurrencies in Africa because banning crypto stifles innovation and adoption. Those countries that have remained nonchalant haven’t helped either, because investors won’t feel safe until they know their money is protected. 

So, is Africa poised to be the next crypto frontier?

So, we have seen the exciting growth of crypto in Africa, success stories and the setbacks, but what does it all mean? We believe that Africa is already the new frontier when it comes to cryptocurrency. Sure, there is a long way still to go, but when has something new ever been embraced immediately. The problems facing crypto adoption in Africa are to be expected as any new technology is first viewed sceptically. Just think of the internet when it was first invented, or the computer, when many people mocked the invention. 

That being said, do not expect any rapid application or development. As we have already seen, there are a lot of other major problems plaguing Africa that need to be addressed first. It is only then that innovation around cryptocurrency will start to be seen, so don’t hold your breath. 

 

To see how some Africans have taken advantage of crypto, this is an interview with one of the known crypto millionaire in South Africa:

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Risk Warning: Your capital is at risk. Statistically, only 11-25% of traders gain profit when trading Forex and CFDs. The remaining 74-89% of customers lose their investment. Invest in capital that is willing to expose such risks.