A new report published by Arcane Research shows that African countries have some of the highest cryptocurrency ownership rates worldwide.
South Africa ranked third throughout the world with 13% of its internet users owning or using cryptocurrencies. Nigeria took the fifth spot with 11% of internet users owning cryptocurrencies. The worldwide average for the same stands at 7%.
Clear interest in crypto
Arcane Research noted that Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana feature in the top-10 countries searching for the term “cryptocurrency” on Google.
Sub-Saharan Africa also has a huge remittance market that brings in about $48 billion annually. Expats today rely on slow and centralized remittance systems that charge transaction fees as high as 9%. Even mobile payment alternatives charge a fee of around 11%.
These factors along with high inflation rates in some African nations reflect the extreme need for cryptocurrency alternatives within the continent.
But there are obstacles
However, the report notes a significant lack of related infrastructures such as crypto mining operations, supporting merchants, smartphone penetration, and internet connectivity. These are obstructing wider reach and utility of cryptocurrencies among Africans.
Additionally, there’s little to no clarification from governments regarding cryptocurrency regulation in African countries. Almost 60% of African governments, the report states, are yet to clarify their stance on cryptocurrencies, which is causing a drag on the adoption of digital currencies.
The fact that African citizens are relying on crypto assets despite the lack of proper infrastructure and regulatory clarity is a testament to the wide room for cryptocurrency adoption across the continent.
Many major players in the cryptocurrency industry are already entering African markets. In a recent “ask me anything” session, the founder of world-leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Changpeng Zhao, said that Africa is an untapped market for cryptos, and the exchange was working on offering its services on the continent.