Google trends are one of the best tools to check particular trends going on in a country. While recently searching, I typed in “bitcoin” and was surprised to see the top states searching for Bitcoin are Nigeria, South Africa, and Ghana respectively. According to a global survey by social media Management Company Hootsuite and global agency Wearesocial. 10.7 percent of internet users in South Africa own cryptocurrency, and a good percentage among this is female users. There are numerous talks about how Africa could be the next frontier for cryptocurrency. This result is one of the explicit depiction of this title. Experts see potential in African countries to be the next leading region in cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency is not something that needs some licensing or involvement of third parties, thus making it uniform for anyone familiar with the essential use of technology. Interests in cryptocurrency are gradually increasing in Africa. Bitcoin, Litecoin, XRP, Dash, Lisk and Monero, and other brands are making their place, but bitcoin is the leading one in the region. This dominance, however, is limited to overseas payments and is not used much in trading locally.
“Africa is rarely mentioned among the largest markets for cryptocurrency, but it may be set to steal a march over other markets,” says Rakesh Sharma, a business and technology journalist. Moreover, Mr. Sharma adds that countries facing inflation are likely to move towards cryptocurrency to avoid the banks.
Why Africa in Lags in the Crypto World?
While Africans continue to widely use mobile devices and its services for money transfer across the country, they still lag in adopting the cryptocurrency. Even though the use of the Internet has spread massively, it still accounts for 10% of the global population. Added to this are the power outage factors that further slow down the process.
Further, the verification process becomes a great hindrance that has yet to be resolved. A 26-year-old entrepreneur recognizes that most of the people leave at the point where they have to feed in their details. He also identified that ease of use and fear of loss of funds are two more significant factors hindering the adoption of crypto in Africa. As he very precisely states it, “Many people are not ready to be their banks, they would rather settle for convenience over security.”
Again, several schemes have dragged the wrong name to the crypto what is worse than a negative word of mouth for anything. This lousy name was earned when thousands of victims in Uganda fell victim to Ponzi schemes.
This is, however, a positive signal as I see it. If thousands of People were investing in any Cryptocurrency, then there are chances that if proper awareness is made, Africa is likely to be on the rise of crypto-currency.
“We must work together to ensure the equitable distribution of wealth, opportunity, and power in our society.” –Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela said these words when Africa was emerging from racism apartheid. The African poverty rate has been on the rebound since 2015. However, overall, income inequality remains an issue. According to a report by UNDB South Africa is at the top of the list of the highest levels of income inequality.
These kinds of issues have kept Africa far behind in the race of technology. Africa needs education and skills to overcome these kinds of issues, and technology like a blockchain can help overcome these kinds of issues.
The solution to the Population Disparity Problem
When problems are complex and multidimensional, there is no single solution to the problem. There are various steps to be taken to solve this kind of problem.
Africa needs to reduce inequality by providing equal opportunities. Investments must be made on small scale farmers, ensuring women play their part in this field. Also, minimum wages could be set by the governments for men and women both. Providing active social protection programs is also essential.
16 Year Old African Entrepreneur
Elisha Owusu Akyaw, a 16-year-old Ghana, is CEO and founder of a big crypto marketing company named Token Media. The company was founded in 2017. The company’s primary aim is to help existing crypt projects in the region as well as assisting in establishing new crypto-related projects. The company is yet small but has excellent potential to be a big one shortly. Elisha is working with local financial firms and making millions through its marketing services. These kinds of projects are helping Africa strengthen its economy and laying the foundation of future crypto projects.
The Future of Crypto Looks Bright
We have seen an upward trend in crypto in recent months. Companies and entrepreneurs in Africa are emphasizing that education internet users that using crypto is safe. Once they understand this, they can jump in the world of financial assets and help the economy.
One factor that is going to help the spread of crypto is that the government has yet not done anything to regularize it. And by the time it thinks of doing it, it will be too late! It’s just like the Internet, which is very difficult to regulate.
Why is crypto the solution to the problem?
Various factors make Africa, the hot favorite to be the next frontier in the cryptocurrency. There are predicted to be around 725 million mobile phone users in Africa by 2020, which indicates the interests of Africans in the technology and Internet. Africa has lots to offer to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, simply because Africa needs an alternative to the weak and not–always–available nor reliable local African fiat money and even though Africa is not renowned for its swift adoption of technological innovations. It was the same case when the telecommunication industry was lagging in Africa, and the smartphones took over a few years later with 1 billion users. Cryptocurrency is taking a similar path, and there are significant changes things will go in the way of Africa. Like any other investment, cryptocurrencies carry risks. However, not owning or embracing the native money of the Internet is even riskier.
Cryptocurrency is a fast-evolving, complex phenomenon that in my view, will have a significant impact on power distribution in the global economy and on the African continent. Also, the fact that Africa “needs” makes it a more potential market for Africa. The African people are also taking bold steps on moving towards technology, which seems a bit unlikely at first. Despite some analysts likening bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to Ponzi schemes, many Africans are taking the risk of investing in it. Experts such as Darko believe that African countries should warmly embrace innovation. “Truth be told, Africa needs blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies more than any part of the world,” he says.
Cryptocurrency is humanity’s greatest iteration on the aphorism that there is strength in numbers. For many, a virtual currency could become the next step in the social contract — a world that lives, breathes, and functions outside the boundaries of a government.
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