Agbona Igwemoh
Sep 30 · 9 min read
Source: Pixabay

As kids growing up in Nigeria, our parents tried to teach us to speak our native dialect. English has always been the generally accepted language in Nigeria, but all 250 different ethnic groups that make up the country, each have their distinct languages. The major reason we were taught to speak our dialect, (apart from learning the culture and heritage of our tribe) is to ensure privacy.

We Nigerians and Africans love to communicate in our native tongue when we have guests in our homes, who may not understand the dialect. Our parents tend to encrypt errands, questions and warnings in our dialect, we are expected to understand the message, and respond appropriately without the guest getting an idea of what’s being said.

In financial settings, money is a tool for economic interaction, just like language, money expresses our intentions. The African man views language as a key sense of identity, and he also ascribes similar sentiments with his economic interaction. The popular saying “Put your money where your mouth is” describes an African man in a nutshell

Crypto is Changing Africa

Africa is changing, along with that change comes several opportunities, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is part of the driving forces behind that change. In Nigeria for example, peer-to-peer bitcoin transaction increased by over 1500 per cent since the bull run of 2017, this percentage was only exceeded by China on a global scale.

Interest by Region for Bitcoin. (Source: Google Trends)

This development presents a new set of opportunities for both local and international crypto projects to make an entry into the Africa market. Cryptocurrencies are becoming more widely accepted, crypto is slowly replacing local currencies. There are several niches where blockchain technology is being applied, like ensuring traceability in the supply chain of agricultural products. Blockchain and cryptocurrency can play important roles in the future of the continent.

Bitcoin is leading the charge in terms of the mass adoption of cryptocurrency in Africa. Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya rank highest on Google trends globally for the biggest search interest for bitcoin in the world.

Bitcoin’s Limitation

Image: Bitcoinmagazine

It is no secret that Bitcoin is limited, transactions and amounts are visible and addresses are traceable on the bitcoin blockchain. Data companies like chainalysis can tell when a given transaction has come in contact with a wallet suspected of illegal activities. In turn, chainalysis ascribes a risk score to this transaction, so each bitcoin on the blockchain can be traced down to its origin when it was first mined.

At the end of the day, money is just a tool, a medium of exchange, and a unit of accounting. Despite how revolutionary Bitcoin is, to some degree, it is no better than centralized banks. In the case of banks, a high-security clearance is needed before the bank can hand privileged client information and transaction to an enquiring party. But in the case of Bitcoin, anyone with high computational resources can have a crack at an address, and get all the answers they want.

Besides, I don’t think anyone would like the world to see what they are doing with their finances and what they are buying. Privacy is a fundamental human right!

Africa Needs Help!

Image: Pixabay

Africa has endured a brutal history of colonialism, and the struggle continues to this very day. British colonialism is not a thing of the past, it still plays a role in the disasters and tragedy we see happening in and around the continent today.

Most African countries are blessed with natural resources, and naturally would not go begging for aid if their natural resources were not mismanaged, and their revenues were stolen and allowed to be kept in British centralized banks.

It is super easy to find content on BBC and CNN about the sufferings and devastation caused by famine and other socio-political problem within the continent. But it is difficult to find detailed News and analysis on the billions of dollars stolen out of Africa and kept in British and other western banks.

An African Currency controlled By the French

Today, the CFA franc, a currency guaranteed by the French treasury is being used by 13 different African countries. Hence, the CFA franc inhibits financial sovereignty of these countries, as their economies are controlled by external forces. The French treasury guarantees the value of CFA franc, and in return for this, the 13 countries who currently use the CFA franc are mandated to keep 50% of their foreign exchange reserves with France.

Image: Wikimedia Commons (CC0)

The CFA franc is nothing but a colonial-era tool continuously used to impinge on the financial sovereignty of the African states. This is simply unacceptable!

What’s the Solution?

It’s a no-brainer — Mothafucking crypto!

A centralized monetary system will always be of disservice to the African people. The African governments are corrupt, they are aided by their western friends who will gladly help them bank looted funds in foreign accounts. There has been the talk of the introduction of a single currency called ECO, a currency for the 15 ECOWAS member countries. But this keeps getting postponed for over a decade now, and it is highly unlikely this will ever come to fruition because of the ever-present dark western forces in play.

A Decentralized Solution

Image: Pixabay

In my opinion, cryptocurrencies were designed for Africa as it is best suited for the harsh realities faced by the continent. It is refreshing to see the adoption of cryptocurrency within the region, as there are millions of daily Bitcoin transactions within the continent.

Transacting in Bitcoin might not be enough for a truly decentralized economy, Bitcoin, as we know, is not fungible due to its lack of privacy. And fungibility is one of the most important characteristics of a currency.

“We cannot go around saying my dollar is a little more special, or that yours is a little less special because mine looks pristine and yours ragged, or that I got mine from a celebrity and you got your from a drug dealer, etc. The only real way to ensure that this does not happen is to ensure that I have no idea where your dollar came from, and if I did, that it doesn’t change its value at all.” Dylan Dewdney explains fungibility.

A Privacy-centric Approach

Image: YouTube

Africa needs a decentralized, deflationary monetary system where no central authority has complete power to mint currency from thin air. Cryptocurrency solves this problem on many fronts, first there is a cap to the amount of currency that can be minted/emitted, secondly, the decision to mint this currency is always transparent.

I believe that a privacy-centric approach will be best suited in the case of African nations. Although, this currency must not be completely private, for reasons of audit and transparency. But privacy end of things must be kept air-tight, not all transactions should be in the eyes of the public, even on an individual, corporate or government level. There has to be some degree of privacy for sensitive transactions.

There are several privacy cryptocurrencies out there with great privacy options. Monero, Zcash and Grin, to name a few. And as you’ll expect, they all have great features as well as shortcomings. The shortcomings are either the coin is inflationary (Grin), not being used for privacy (Zcash) or unscalable (Monero). While Beam, on the other hand, is deflationary, confidential and scalable, hereby addressing all the problems all the privacy tokens combined failed at.

Think of Beam as your mobile, decentralized Swiss Bank account, completely borderless, and confidential.

Support Human Right Activities — Anonymously

Image Source: Techpoint Africa

In most African countries, whose oppressive governments deprive its citizens the liberty to assemble and fight for their civil rights. Today, the rally point for most young people is usually social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp. On such platforms, closed groups are created for effective communication of plans and strategies.

Financial support is pivotal for any human right activity to be successful, unfortunately, there is a lot of restrictions for African countries from making donations on popular platforms like GoFundMe, YouTube, Facebook.

On these platforms, users have the option to make donations anonymously, unfortunately, Africans have been censored from using such services. This limits Africans who want to contribute towards any human right cause to make their donation using local bank transfers or Bitcoin, which might come with repercussions due to the traceable nature of bank and bitcoin transactions.

For the past two years in Nigeria, a special division of the Nigerian Police Force known as SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) has been heavily involved in several cases of human rights abuse. Which has resulted in unlawful arrests, detention, extortion, humiliation and deaths of young Nigerians.

Recently, a young software developer was harassed, extorted and wrongfully detained by SARS operatives. This incident went viral on Twitter with the hashtags #EndSars #StopRobbingUs. There were protests across Lagos state, and the co-founder and CEO of an online movie streaming platform — IrokoTv, Jason Njoku, contributed the sum of NGN10,000,000 ($27,624) to the cause. Other tech leaders were sceptical of contributing as well, for fear of backlash from the government through the centralized banking system.

Confidential privacy tokens like Beam come into play, where people can make donations towards human rights activities, without giving away their identities, hereby standing their grounds against oppressive governments.

How Africans Can Use BEAM

Image: Source

As a store of value

All around the world, people are getting more aware of the need for privacy as a fundamental human right. People are aware that Bitcoin doesn’t offer any sort of anonymity, hence the demand for privacy tokens is on the high. With the Mimblewimble protocol getting much traction and gaining popularity within the crypto space, Beam has become a household name as it is fast becoming the leading privacy token globally.

For these reasons, people are purchasing Beam for all its features, and with this high number of trade volumes, comes with an increase in price. Africans can cash in on that by buying and holding Beam in their BEAM wallets, and with the steady trading activities, the prices are bound to go up. And they can either re-invest their appreciated Beam tokens or sell for a profit.

Tradeable Digital Asset

Crypto traders can buy and trade Beam against other popular pairs like BTC and ETH on the world’s leading crypto exchange — Binance and other leading crypto exchanges. With high trading volumes, which ensure liquidity hereby making Beam a great asset to trade against other coins.

Beam wallets also have the Atomic Swap feature which will enable users to switch to Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies. This makes it needless for users to have to use centralized exchanges to exchange Beam for other top cryptocurrencies.

As a Means of Exchange, and a Unit of Accounting

With the launch of the Laser Beam, which is a step further towards the Lightning Network, a second layer solution on the Beam blockchain that is meant to make transactions faster and ready for everyday use (micropayments). With this, you can buy items at a local grocery store and make payment in Beam, and the payment will be instant.

Right now, you can make payment using Beam on some stores online

Building on The Beam Blockchain Network

Although it will be ideal for individuals, businesses and the government to use the Beam tokens for their transactions. However, development on Beam confidential assets is very much possible, and Beam will be available to provide support. Businesses and government bodies can create an emission of a different asset, with its own rules and currency.

So, businesses can build their payment platforms or confidential assets; also governments can build their indigenous tokens on the Beam blockchain.

Conclusion

The blockchain finance industry is still at its infancy despite bitcoin’s emergence over 10 years ago. This presents a great opportunity for exploration within the African continent, in the coming years, the projects currently operating in the continent will have the first-mover advantage. And have a front-row seat in the continuous drive of the continent towards a decentralized economy.

Beam Africa

About Beam Privacy and the way this privacy-centric coin could enhance financial sovereinty in Africa

Agbona Igwemoh

Written by

Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Enthusiast

Beam Africa

About Beam Privacy and the way this privacy-centric coin could enhance financial sovereinty in Africa

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