Nigeria and Africa generally are showing a huge sign of optimism for Bitcoin trading in the coming years, says the founder of BitcoinNow, a Bitcoin selling platform that is available in five African countries.
Davidson Atere-Roberts notes that Bitcoin provides a deregulated, borderless and a decentralized system of alternative finance to Nigerians and Africans but the increase in adoption will only come when they realize that the digital currency can be exchanged for goods and services.
“We believe that in the coming years Bitcoin would be adopted as an alternative to the basic investments, it will be seen as a safe-haven virtual asset. We expect within the next few years that high net worth individuals and the middle class will be investing in Bitcoins to protect and increase their capital as opposed to stocks, bonds, gold etc. We assume that more Africans will go into Bitcoin trading and there will be much more peer-to-peer transactions.”
M-Pesa success an example
“We are very enthusiastic about the Nigerian market as an influential and leading market in Africa although Senegal has taken the lead globally by introducing its own digital currency that will be a legal tender alongside its currency. We are also very optimistic about the East and Southern Africa regions. It will take a while but we believe Bitcoin will follow the M-Pesa line in revolutionizing digital transactions,” he adds.
M-Pesa is the world's most successful money transfer service that enables millions of people who have access to a mobile phone but do not have or have only limited access to a bank account, to send and receive money, top-up airtime and make bill payments. As at last year, it announced it has 25 mln active global users.
Atere-Roberts’ BitcoinNow is trying to solve the problem of accessibility as there is still a controlled supply of Bitcoin in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Gambia and Sierra Leone.
The idea is to bridge the gap between these developing markets and Bitcoin access by providing a seamless platform in as many African markets as its resources can establish.
He believes Bitcoin can be used as a hedge against political and economic uncertainty, capital and foreign exchange controls, demonetization and devaluation and hyperinflation even though Bitcoin-related businesses in Nigeria and Africa are still faced with major challenges.
“The major challenge we believe hindering the adoption of Bitcoins is the nervousness and anxiety of the general public. It is tough in these times to put money on what you do not fully understand. The emergence of Bitcoin-utilizing Ponzi schemes and dubious cryptocurrencies has also not helped the acceptance and adoption of Bitcoins. Another challenge presently is regulation, there is a need for greater regulatory oversight from governments. Governments cannot sustain a fight against digital currencies. They should rather cooperate with the Bitcoin community recognizing the digital currency as money and developing a legal framework.”