On the global index of the acceptance of cryptocurrency by continents, Africa sits just a place away from the continent at the bottom, but the problem is that Antarctica is inhabitable. So Africa is in fact the continent with the least popularity of cryptocurrency. On the world scale, there are over 2000 cryptocurrencies and every single day, more coins are still being created. But only few of these currencies are in Africa, with the most popular ones being Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, Ethereum and Dash.
If there is anything that has hindered the general acceptance of cryptocurrency in Africa, it has to be the volatility of the market. It can be generally said that changes in prices that the average American or European might not see as significant means a lot to an African. For example, a US dollar is an equivalent of 360naira (Nigerian). During the first week of 2018, Bitcoin traded at $20,000 USD, and there were a lot of bullish prediction on this coin, with some self-acclaimed prophets predicting $75,000 in value. We all know what happened to Bitcoin about a week later. By the end of 2018, Bitcoin had experienced what is now called crypto winter, trading at %3,700 USD. All these figures are a lot of money for a continent with a lot of people living below a dollar per day. So yes, the mass cannot afford to put in money into cryptocurrency, and even if they could, the volatility of digital currencies scare them. But then again, who isn’t scared?
This does not mean that there is no prospect for digital currencies in the continent. As a matter of fact, some countries in the continent are working on owning cryptocurrency assets and Bitcoin ATMs are now in countries like South Africa. To get a clearer picture of the state of cryptocurrency in Africa, I will now proceed to analyze headlines that are currently making the rounds.
Africa Countries and Digital Currency
There are 54 countries in Africa. Out of these countries, South Africa and Swaziland are leading on the acceptance scale. South African seems to be ahead of every other country in terms of acceptance as it is the only country that has Bitcoin ATMs installed. Also, with its unrivalled technological advancement in relative to other African countries, the country is currently host to various cryptocurrency and blockchain start-up projects.
Senegal and Tunisia as sovereign states are recorded to be the earliest adopters of cryptocurrencies. In 2015, Tunisia started issuing the world’s first institutionalized digital currency; eDinar. Although the digital currency has not made the waves that it was expected to have, it is a proof that the government of the country, and the citizens as a whole are aware of the importance of digital currency. Senegal on the other hand issued eCFA in December 2016, a digital currency equivalent of CFA franc, the national currency of the country.
Most of the east countries in Africa seems to be on reserve. Rwanda for example is said to be carrying out research on the potentials of cryptocurrencies and how they could harness these potentials. But in general, most of the governments and central banks in Africa have so far taken the ‘wait and see’ stand as regards cryptocurrencies. It is almost like they are waiting for their European or America counterparts to experiment first before they can join the bandwagon. If there is anything we know Africa for, it is the fact that they do not like failure.
Africans and Digital Currency
Bitcoin is the most popular among Africans. It is said that cryptocurrency is not a term in Africa, they rather stick to Bitcoin as the generic name. Although the exact amount of holders of cryptocurrency cannot be ascertained, data from top exchange companies places it above three million holders. Out of these holders, South Africans and Nigeria are the leading holders.
There has been crypto projects that are targeting the unbaked in Africa, among many other projects like the healthcare crypto projects, logistics crypto projects and a whole lot more. If there was any reason why cryptocurrencies were appealing to Africans, it has to be the general perception that it was an unregulated cryptocurrency, totally independent and free from Government interference. But as it stands, the future of cryptocurrencies seems to be gearing towards regularizations by top exchange and security companies. However, this might not in any way affect the investors in Africa. The acceptance is on the rise, and the future looks bright.