Covid -19 lockdown day 55 – I just found out that my home of Africa is the next frontier for Bitcoin
Lockdown has given me time to do some research and today I was inspired to find an article discussing how I might be well positioned for the next evolution of not only money but also economic growth and prosperity overall. I’m talking about the Bitcoin Revolution hitting my home continent of Africa, including the top nations of Nigeria and my own Sunny South Africa.
The website Decypt ran an article today which lays out the future potential and interest for Bitcoin in Africa and how this is the goldmine waiting to explode. And Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is hugely involved, which is a clear sign that this is for real and that it’s big time. The article actually refers to an interesting documentary that is about to be aired on Amazon Prime called, “Banking on Africa: The Bitcoin Revolution”, which includes my home country way down south as well as the founder of Monero, the most secure and anonymous cryptocurrency around (in the top 20 by market cap globally), who happens to also be a South African.
The documentary is produced by an award winning production house, so is professional and genuine, which makes me feel that overall the future of Bitcoin propulsion to the next ATH could be pushed, in part, by the potential mass adoption of Bitcoin in Africa. Every bull run, after the four year halvings, has been based on some kind of new use case or breakthrough in Bitcoin technology. In the past it was the advent of Etherium and altcoins based thereon. This time it could be mass adoption by a continent with the population of around 1.2 billion people, similar to that of India or China.
The curious thing that makes Africa so appealing for Bitcoin developers, is that there is a massive use case, a need which Bitcoin can readily solve. And the reason why Bitcoin is so appealing to Africa is because of their predicament as the unbanked of the world. The vast majority are without bank accounts, so struggle to move money via remittance back home when working abroad, or in a neighboring country. The fees and delays for a worker (earning say ZAR in my country, where millions from numerous countries migrate to work) trying to get his pay to family up north back home, can be troublesome.
But with a Bitcoin wallet on a mobile phone, of which there are numerous in Africa, will allow anyone to send money home anywhere in Africa. Of course, the logistics and details need to be ironed out, like the fiat onramp, as well as stable electricity and internet. Over 50% of Africans are still without electricity, which seems absurd, even to me as an African resident, what to speak of the inequality at such a late stage in the history of the planet, and of electricity.
Well, pop stars like Akon, originally from Senegal, and Bitcoin pioneers like Riccardo Spagni from South Africa, as well as millionaire Jack Dorsey, are working on empowering Africans via Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Dorsey already has experience with his global payment app Square, and Akon has obtained a mass of coastal land from his Senegalese President for free, to build the first ever crypto smart city, run solely on his crytpcurrency called Akoin.
In true leapfrog format, the technological laggard of Africa could jump ahead to the newest tech overnight. It’s a breakthrough on the verge of sweeping Bitcoin adoption up into the hands of millions of Africans in the coming years. Akon’s city will be a ten-year project to begin with, so this is a long-term venture in Africa overall. Dorsey says he would like to spend a full six months in Africa in future, evolving his business projects there.
As the entire world slowly goes digital, leaving paper currency behind, and as Africa adopts the new online currency, Bitcoin could explode as a store of value and more importantly as a means of transfer. Also national fiat currencies may be negatively affected now with the global financial collapse, so national currencies can’t be relied on in Africa, where economies are fragile and weak, and certainly not able to weather this historic storm we are now experiencing.
Frail African governments and banks may crumble, but Africans will be able to work totally independently of their country’s instability by using Bitcoin or cryptocurrency in general. A survey of African ownership of cryptocurrency by internet users aged 16-64 showed that South Africa is the most popular place for Bitcoin, with 13% of those surveyed owning it, and Nigeria a close second at 11%. The global average is apparently 7%, according to the Decrypto article, on par with countries like Ghana and Kenya.
With Africans losing a substantial percentage of their money to fees when sending money back home (remittance), Bitcoin and other cheaper cryptocurrencies will facilitate a revolution in the value and efficiency of their lives. So there are promising projects happening, and they may well facilitate the next Bitcoin bull run in the coming 18 months. I’m certainly hopeful and plan to stay invested until then, strong hands permitting.