On July 24, 2020, Chris Maurice, CEO of Yellow Card, a crypto exchange based in Nigeria, said that crypto usage and trading had made its way over to Africa, gaining prevalence all over the continent.
Maurice told reporters:
“In terms of the crypto scene and everything, things are growing very rapidly, really across the continent, but specifically in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, and Kenya.”
He added that although these four nations are leading the charge in crypto adoption, it’s just a matter of time before the momentum continues to expand outward to the rest of the continent.
As we had earlier reported, interest in cryptocurrency is growing steadily in Africa, with some economists taunting it is a disruptive innovation that will blossom on the continent.
However, most of the crypto volume in Africa doesn’t run through formal exchanges, making it difficult to estimate the asset class’ prevalence.
The Yellow Card CEO argues that the lack of numerous crypto exchanges in the continent has meant that more trading volume is running through over the counter (OTC) avenues, as well as social platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram.
Bitcoin Offers Alternative to Traditional Finance
According to Maurice, Bitcoin has become an alternative for transactions and wealth storing for many folks in Africa who don’t have access to traditional banking, estimating that the actual volume of BTC trading in Africa is up to eight times higher than the reported volume.
The world’s largest crypto has gained prevalence in the continent as it can be used to facilitate cross-border transactions minus the large fees.
For instance, peer-to-peer trading site Paxful noted last year that unbanked users in Africa are increasingly using gift cards to obtain Bitcoin, adding that 45% of its wallets are from the region.
Paxful continues to foster crypto adoption in Africa with its #BuiltWithBitcoin marketing campaigns, which aims to provide crypto education at the grassroots level in Africa.
Another factor driving adoption in Africa is inflation, according to Rakesh Sharma, a business and technology journalist.
He argues that citizens of countries battling high inflation such as Zimbabwe and Mozambique are likely to opt for crypto because its paradigm of decentralization offers an alternative to disastrous central bank policies.
Electroneum is Fostering Crypto Adoption in Africa
As in the rest of the world, Africans began their journey into crypto through Bitcoin, with transaction volumes in countries like South Africa steadily increasing since December 2017.
That said, British based blockchain firm Electroneum has created a unique ecosystem in the continent with its pledge to unlock the power of blockchain to help many unemployed and unbanked in the developing world.
The project has so far developed practical use cases that foster crypto adoption in developing African countries. For instance, Electroneum’s native token is being widely used in South Africa to top up unlimited mobile airtime and data.
In another push to foster crypto usage in Africa, Electroneum recently launched an in-app electricity top-up feature to support digital payment projects for electricity in Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, and Gambia.