Since Bitcoin became known and the idea of independent deflationary digital currency roaming the online fields, Africa had interest in it. Even if no one thought about it at that moment.
As if buoys from a sinking submarine, different crypto-related news have been emerging from the Africa recently, though the continent is far from drowning. Quite the opposite, if the Wikipedia’s article on the economy of Africa is correct, then this is the fastest-growing continent. The buoy metaphor though is closer to the truth.
News about Africa are rare, but influential. Either it is a woman in Africa, an activist who works hard to bring society’s attention to Bitcoin, as she believes that digital currency would allow Africa to prosper. Or we can also remember how Kipochi has grown over the six month of its existence. And there is no way we can forget two crazy bikers who took on a mission to travel the west coast of the continent to find or “recruit” coin enthusiasts while not using (almost) money other than bitcoin.
Although Africa is still being polluted with many economic and social problems, it slowly changes its image in the everyone’s eyes and takes Bitcoin along for the ride.
Pelle Braendgaard has some thoughts to say on the topic. If you don’t remember who Mr. Braengaard is, then I’ll get you updated: he is the founder of the Kipochi web-wallet. So, he explains that the reason for the creation of this service is the significant lowering of foreign transactions for the countries of Africa, bringing the fee down from 12% to 1%. He also does not regard Bitcoin as a currency for which one could buy goods and services. For him coins are just very convenient means to transfer money across borders.
Especially great job was made in distant parts of Africa, where there are no banks, VISAS and more likely internet. The last option for people there is to use mobile wallets. More details on how it works you can find an earlier article by a fellow author.
However, Braengaard’s Kipochi is not the only Bitocoin transfer service operating in Africa. A Kenyan service BitPesa also gets the wheels rolling as it proceeds to negotiate a collaboration with different banks and mobile operators. The role of remittance in the economy of Kenya is not to be downplayed and CEO of BitPesa, Elizabeth Rossiello stated that she has always been aware of that.
Even though there are many speculations about the volatility of the digital currency and how painful it could be for the people of Africa to lose money on the evershifting exchange rate, in my opinion, this is the risk worth taking. Also, Bitcoin could be a first step for some people to accept the international banking systems. If the latter survive that long.
After everything said, I can only can conclude, that many challenges await those brave enough to expand promote and support cryptocurrency in Africa, but where there is no pain there is no gain.
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