Africa is a large place with a wide range of currencies. Basically, we have 50+ countries and a whole host of different currencies. But the thing is that we don’t need more fiat run by bankers and corrupt politicians in Africa. Bitcoin is perfect for Africa with so many countries, economies and borders that can be crossed permissionless and censorship resistance. When we look at the banking infrastructure in different countries of Africa, we see widely differing amounts of banking infrastructure. While South Africa has a very good infrastructure, Central Africa has a very different situation.
Bitcoin, of course, is a real threat the money issuing monopolies of governments. This monopoly over the money system means that there is no competition of money. That is problematic. Once cryptocurrency really off across the African continent, it’s getting more and more adoption every day. The day may not be far when fiat will be unable to compete because it is inherently inferior to cryptocurrency. We see mobile phone adoption exploding across Africa.
Across the continent, we can certainly see some countries that are getting way more involved in crypto. We hear a lot from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and South Africa. Google trends show that bitcoin searches are often dominated by Africa which means that the interest is real but there are a lot of countries where we hear nothing about crypto adoption. So we still have a lot of work to do. But if we can get these strong footholds in places like Nigeria and South Africa, that would be amazing as it can spread from there.
Over in Nigeria, we have Atiku Abubakar, who is the presidential hopeful and pro crypto politician. He wants to really see crypto become an important part of the future of Nigeria. He is just a presidential hopeful at this point and the elections will happen in mid-February but currently, Atiku does stand a really good chance of winning. This could really put Nigeria on the crypto map even more than it already is if he can win.
Uganda is very open to crypto hosting Binance’s first fiat onramp was a very important thing and is proving to be very popular amongst Ugandian population who want to buy bitcoin. Kenya’s government has launched the first fintech regulatory sandbox in Africa.
Over in South Africa, the government has established a crypto assets regulatory working group. South Africa’s reserve bank has released a paper looking to eliminate fraud and protect investors interested in cryptocurrencies but importantly make it easier to track transactions and levy taxes. Now the move deanonymizes cryptocurrency transactions in South Africa which is indeed bringing bitcoin closer to the traditional banking framework. The report does say that the new laws would essentially make it so that the exchanges and wallet providers have to trace transactions and will be held responsible for their customer’s usage of cryptocurrencies which is basically the role that the banks are playing in the current financial environment. So the exchanges, wallet providers, bitcoin ATMs, payment processors etc. all have to register with the government in 2019 which is not a piece of really good news.
Over in Zimbabwe, the government has shut down the internet. There is a protest over 150% fuel price hike due to which the internet is shut down for some days but it just made the blockstream satellites in space really useful. As the awareness of these kinds of services grows, governments are really quickly going to realize that they cannot shut it down.
Binance also has been doing some PR work in Africa. They unveiled a blockchain donation project for a landslide that happened in Uganda and they are also aiming to feed a million children in Africa in 2019.
What do you think about the future of cryptocurrencies in Africa? Tell us in the comments section below.