As the continent celebrates the freedom of Bitcoin, the prospects for development are ripe.
Bitcoin was created to reclaim financial power for the citizens. Bitcoin has increased in popularity worldwide in the years since its invention. Peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange has exploded in popularity across Africa recently.
According to data from UsefulTulips, the bitcoin trade in Ghana and Kenya has been steadily increasing. The two countries are overtaking South Africa to become Africa‘s second and third largest cryptocurrency markets in the first quarter of 2021. Despite a recent government ban on bitcoin, Nigeria continues to lead the continent in the bitcoin trade.
Around January and March 2021, Nigeria’s trading volume exceeded $99.1 million, led by Kenya’s $38.4 million, Ghana’s $27.4 million, and South Africa’s $25.8 million. Nigeria saw a record-breaking $309 million in bitcoin trading volume in 2020, more than three times the $98.4 million in South Africa.
The increase in volume can be due to more favorable regulatory conditions in Ghana and Kenya. The Central Bank of Kenya is reportedly considering accepting bitcoin as its reserve currency, fueled by recent significant investments in bitcoin by companies such as MicroStrategy and Tesla, solidifying bitcoin’s use as a store of value.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has launched a national crackdown on cryptocurrency, with the Central Bank of Nigeria prohibiting banks from handling bitcoin-related transactions in recent months. After the recent crash of the multinational Mirror Trading International Ponzi scheme, which was located in South Africa, the South African government has also criticized Bitcoin.
The demand for bitcoin among Africans has risen in recent years. Financial instability, increasing insecurity, government corruption, and depreciating currencies have driven people around the continent to seek more secure investments. The latest global pandemic and the recent rise in bitcoin’s valuation may have played a role.