Africa the Sleeping Crypto Giant Starting to Wake?


In the general cryptocurrency ecosystem, there has been a rather clear divide between those countries at the forefront of wealth and technology doing as much as they can with blockchain and cryptocurrency and seeing the highest levels of adoption. Then, on the other side, a continent like Africa has been purported as a real place of growth for real world application of this technology and financial system. 

However, as the growth has been moving along Africa has been mostly a bystander with a few instances of growth, and many instances of high interest. But, it could be that the continent is starting to wake and make a real play to integrate and operate within the crypto and blockchain ecosystem.

Evidence from Google and other metrics have shown the likes of South Africa and Nigeria emerging to the top of the pile for Bitcoin — globally — but more than individual interest, there are other metrics that are showing the continent is ready to take the next step with this technology. 

More interest

A recent report by Arcane Research and Luno found that Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, and Kenya are frequently among the top 10 countries by Google searches for the word “Bitcoin.”

The report says the continent as “one of, if not the most promising region for the adoption of cryptocurrencies,” This is a nod towards Africa’s low existing current crypto adoption alongside its enormous domain possibility.

Some of the reasons that the continent is looking so promising is because Africa exhibits a young population, frequent monetary crises and currency failures, large unbanked or underbanked populations, and expensive means of payment.

Owners down South

The Google searches for Bitcoin are one way to gauge immediate interest, but research shows that South Africa, and not Nigeria with the highest searches, has the highest number of crypto ownership.

South Africa has the highest percent of cryptocurrency ownership or use among internet users in Africa with 13percent, followed by Nigeria with 11 percent. Worldwide, South Africa ranks fifth for crypto adoption among connected citizens.

This also ties in with the regulators in South Africa taking a progressive stance to the space as last month, South Africa’s financial regulator issued a policy document asserting that crypto assets and activities relating to virtual currencies “can no longer remain outside of the regulatory perimeter.”

Darryn Pollock
Darryn has been interested in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space since he heard about Bitcoin in 2015. He then decided to use his journalism degree to report on this fascinating fintech space in 2016, and has not looked back since.

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