Crypto in Africa: Impact of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies in 2018
The year started with great promise for the blockchain and cryptocurrency community in Africa. Cryptocurrencies gained popularity in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Uganda. Innovation emerged across the continent and allowed cryptocurrencies to spread to the core of Africa.
South Africa got the first ATM
South Africa has been at the front line of crypto adoption. The county is leading in blockchain and crypto activities. In May, the first cryptocurrency ATM was installed at Northwold Spar in Johannesburg. The ATM was imported from Portugal to allow South African residents to access various cryptocurrencies. It was designed to process multiple cryptocurrencies including Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin Core (BTC).
After installation, long lines of people waiting to use the ATM were seen, which eventually caused many more ATMs to be installed across the country. With easy accessibility, many people in the region began using cryptocurrencies.
In addition to South Africa, there are now more ATMs across the continent. Some are located in Kenya and Nigeria.
South African economies grow with the help of digital currencies
Research conducted by the World Payment Report by French banking group BNB Paribas and Capgemini, an IT company, showed the South African economy has grown thanks to digital currencies.
The South African economy is home to many bitcoin ATMs. It is also home of crypto exchanges like Luno. Banks are also getting involved in the crypto space.
The South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) open-mindedness has contributed significantly to the growth of crypto in the country. Although the regulator does not recognize cryptocurrency as legal tender, it has not prevented trade in cryptocurrencies. In April, the bank had announced plans to create regulatory guidelines for cryptocurrency markets in the country.
Uganda prince bring crypto powered solar energy
CleanPath Emerging Markets Uganda (CPEM), an energy company, has partnered up with Wala, a South African startup, in October. CPEM was founded by a Prince of the Bugandan Kingdom, Prince Kudra Kalama. Wala has developed a Smartphone app to allow peer-to-peer transactions. The company almost closed operations due to high transaction fees from traditional banks but decided to adopt cryptocurrencies. The company launched $DALA token late last year.
The partnership aims to create a blockchain enabled solar energy project using the $DALA blockchain. The project also hopes to provide clean energy for the community, create employment and help build Uganda’s economy. Workers under the project will be paid in $DALA, which will also be used by customers to purchase clean solar energy. If all goes as planned, the project will provide clean energy to 25 percent of the population. It will also create jobs for more than 200,000 people.
Kenyan parliament task its Treasury Secretary to research cryptocurrencies
Kenyan citizens have also greatly adopted cryptocurrencies; however, the government has been slow to take a stance on the matter. In the second quarter, the Kenyan Parliament tasked Henry Rotich, Kenya’s Treasury Secretary with the responsibility of investigating whether the current state of cryptocurrency in the country needs to be regulated or not. The Kenyan parliament gave him two weeks to conduct the research.
According to reports, Mr. Rotich was questioned on bitcoin by the Finance and National Planning Committee. The committee also wants to inquire into why the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and the Treasurer allowed people to venture into unregulated activities.
Rotich was tasked to find out whether the country has local exchanges and what their influence is on the financial statutes of the country. During the meeting, the government decided they will decide on the matter once Rotich and his team are done with their investigation.
Some members of Parliament like the Molo Constituency Member of Parliament, Kimani Kuria, strongly believed cryptocurrencies should be regulated. He believes that the currencies could be used to increase illegal activities in the country.
It has been months since the committee undertook the research. There has been no report on the matter. However, some government agencies like the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) decided to use blockchain technology to help with the next electoral process.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as SegWitCoin BTC coins. Altcoins, which value privacy, anonymity, and distance from government intervention, are referenced as dark coins.
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