Bitcoin has proven to be a great liberator that can democratize and simplify the way we make payments and money transactions all over the world. Especially in Africa, it is a key piece of currency/technology that should be harnessed and propagated for the benefits of intra-African trade and a more unified market across the continent.
Bitcoin is a great alternative currency devoid of discrimination and biases that Africans regularly experience from international banks, credit card companies as well as international payment providers.
The opportunities bitcoin provides are endless. Bitcoin can be employed to help create an economy and a society that is productive, progressive and provides opportunities for all without biases and unnecessary discrimination.
Low Merchant Adoption Rate of Bitcoin in Africa
Bitcoin adoption by merchants in Africa has been slow due to:
Regulation: There is poor regulation in Africa where most countries take long to pass payment legislations and this has a negative impact on the economy of these countries.
Awareness/Misinformation: Bitcoin is not very popular in Africa and for the few who do, don’t know it’s benefits.
Existing mobile money services: There is already’ M-Pesa’ in place which is a mobile money service. It is very reliable and it might take a while before people adopt the whole bitcoin concept.
Cash is (still) king: The use of credit cards is not very common in Africa as most transactions are done in cash. For this reason, it is hard to train people on online payments but people are slowly adopting it.
With the exception of South Africa (who’s regulators hold a very positive stance towards bitcoin), merchant adoption is close to zero in most of Africa. Hence, if you decide to receive payments for good and services you will need to convert your bitcoins into local currency. The good news is, that getting paid in bitcoin and then converting it into local currency can often be cheaper than the exuberant PayPal fees that many freelancers and online merchants have to face.
Converting Bitcoin to Local Currency
If you want to convert bitcoin into local currency, get an exchange of bitcoin that will enable you to sell at a good price and preferably a local currency.
The following are the things to consider when selecting the exchange to use.
- Does the exchange you have selected support the currency that you want?
- What is the cost of the exchange?
- How long does the fund transfer take?
- Does the selling price make sense?
- Check if the exchange is legit.
The most popular exchange that Africans use is the peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins.com. In almost every African country, you will find people willing to buy and sell bitcoins using this marketplace. It is one of the leading bitcoin marketplaces in the world and uses a user rating system and escrow accounts to drastically reduce the risk of fraud or scams.
In Kenya, for example, Safaricom’s M-Pesa money transfer service is the most common means of exchanging bitcoin into the local currency via LocalBitcoins.com.
When Getting Paid in Bitcoin Makes Sense
If you are running an e-commerce business, are a freelancer or are working remotely for an international company, it makes sense to accept payment in bitcoin if:
- The cost of converting your bitcoins into your local currency is less than PayPal’s or other online payment systems’ fees.
- If you regularly send money abroad and want to reduce remittance costs.
- If you believe the value of bitcoin will increase over time and you want to hold it as a long-term investment.
If any of the three before-mentioned reasons resonate with you then you should consider accepting payments in bitcoin.
Introducing Noones – Africa’s P2P Super App
True financial freedom can now be experienced in Africa thanks to the ability to offramp from fiat-based currencies such as the Kenya Shilling ($KES) to the Bitcoin standard courtesy of the Bitcoin super application, Noones.
As the name suggests, absolutely no one right now can manipulate, intimidate or steal Africans’ value and well as time when they choose to embrace this idea whose time has come by trading peer-to-peer on the Noones App.
The Noones application has a messenger, wallet, and marketplace all in one. These 3 features ensure that Africans can now trade Bitcoin peer to peer either on mobile, tablets, or computers 24/7.
The capability to communicate in real-time is of vital importance when it comes to Bitcoin peer-to-peer trading. This is because the peer who is buying Bitcoin needs to communicate with the selected trader to make sure they are available to trade, the amount they need is available, verify the payment details, confirm they have sent funds and receipt of the Bitcoin.
Access to customer support is also crucial as money is emotive; thus, making the chat feature on the Noones application give users peace of mind that all their queries will be resolved in a timely manner. Their team lead Mr. Ibrahim on his visit to Kenya personally assured me that all customer care issues will be taken very seriously and addressed as soon as possible to ensure high customer satisfaction when anyone uses the Noones app.
The peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading experience on Noones is very convenient due to the multiple payment methods in Kenya. Bank transfers, M-Pesa, PayPal, Visa, and Venmo are some of the most popular ways Kenyans prefer to utilize. Many more payment rails will be added to the platform to make sure convenience is what users experience as they trade.
The youth in Kenya make up the biggest demographic of the country’s population, and despite being educated, talented as well very driven, they suffer due to widespread unemployment. The Noones team is very passionate in regards to Bitcoin education to ensure that the youth learn, thus broadening their horizons to be in a position to earn through peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading furthermore, get jobs as per their competencies in Bitcoin companies and or get paid in Bitcoin e.g. for selling art.
As a full-time Bitcoin content creator and educator I love the approach by Noones to address real issues in Kenya by Bitcoin education and training sessions.
Existing peer-to-peer traders in Kenya and Africa have been plagued by stupidity in regards to platforms like Paxful not having their best interest at heart, thus locking accounts. However, Noones is the solution to this as the team is dedicated and on the ground.
A true champion for Africa as a Bitcoin ambassador building for Africa is a perfect description of Ray who is the C.E.O of Noones. His passion and on the ground experience give a lot of confidence to peer-to-peer traders that they are utilizing a platform that has their best interests at heart.
The Noones partnership program provides a viable and sustainable opportunity for African youth to make an honest living which the Kenyan government can not due to corruption and false promises. Earning via referrals and your own effort is a revolutionary process that takes working from home to a whole new level. Anyone can get started by using the link & referal code ‘MasterGuantai’.
HAPA NI KAZI TU
The Noones marketplace is the best, especially because of the verified peer-to-peer traders. This means you can trade with people who the Noones team has their KYC/AML (Know your customer, Anti-Money laundering) data, meaning they can not steal your funds.
We are always on the grind is the meaning of ‘Hapa Ni Kazi Tu’, which is my mantra. African youth are ready, willing and able to put in the proof of work to make sure they learn and earn in the Bitcoin space. The Noones application provides a perfect opportunity for this to ensure dignity as well as a viable opportunity to not only make ends meet but prosper.
The Noones platform provides the change that the youth and young adults want to see in Africa. Having a Bitcoin super application at everyone’s tips provides just that.
The corruption, indoctrination and manipulation of the fiat-based monetary system is evident in everyday life. The way forward is to explore new horizons by unlearning what we were taught to believe is the status quo which is hurting our lives. Fortune Favour a the bold and taking action is the only way forward as stagnation will ensure we are perpetual slaves to a system that is not in our best interest.
The Noones application provides all of as with the opportunity to chart a brighter way forward to preserve our dignity, time and value on the Bitcoin standard.
How Often Is Crypto Really Used In Illegal Activity?
Statistics, examples, and ways to legally use cryptocurrency
October 1, 2013, was a turbulent day for San Francisco Public Library. A dozen FBI agents pretending to be usual visitors surrounded a man sitting at one of the tables, took his laptop and put a pair of handcuffs on his hands. That man was Ross Ulbricht, founder of Silk Road – the largest darknet marketplace for drug dealers, killers, and other criminals. The seizure of Ulbricht was supposed to tackle the illegal online trade, but, as the news site DeepDotWeb wrote, the bust was “the best advertising the darknet markets could have hoped for”. The reputation of cryptocurrency also suffers from associations with terrorists, who sometimes use it for their needs. How big is the real scale of the problem? And how many legal ways to use crypto exist? ChangeNOW has dived into the topic – and suggests you an overview of the current state of the problem.
- The drugs trade volume using cryptocurrency is relatively large
- Crypto was a significant reason why a part of drug sales migrated to the web, though stays yet not viable and anonymous enough for dealers (same as for terrorists)
- As efficient use of blockchain technology requires good infrastructure, crypto remains not suitable enough for many terrorist groups
- However, some terrorists are trying to adjust to anonymity threats and hold fundraising in crypto
- Legal ways to use cryptocurrency include dozens and vary from IT services to car rentals
Crypto & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll
The total volume of the online drug market using cryptocurrency is around $1 billion. It is located in the darknet, which provides an attractive, profitable, and mostly secure environment for drug dealers. Cryptocurrency, in turn, allows making payments that are hard to be tracked by authorities. This is how blockchain technology has helped to bring a big part of drug sales online from the streets. And it’s not only about drugs themselves – many legal opioid drugs are illegally sold here, too.
However, cryptocurrency is not always as secure and anonymous as it is thought to be. The information about any transaction ever made stays forever in the blockchain, which makes the system way more transparent than cash payments. This is a significant limitation for using crypto in illegal purposes.
According to the University of Technology Sydney, about 46% of criminal activity of each year is connected to Bitcoin. As for the drug sale itself, trade volumes in crypto keep rising, but the percent of Bitcoin drug transactions out of all transactions goes down. This means Bitcoin is more frequently used for legitimate purposes.
What cryptocurrency is used for drug sales most often? Surprisingly, privacy coins such as Monero are used only for 4% of transactions. Due to its pioneer position, Bitcoin is used in 76% of all deals despite all its anonymity risks.
The main problem for drug dealers using crypto is to turn their income into cash. This move remains complicated and insecure. Most cryptocurrency exchanges have instruments to define whether a transaction is coming from a suspicious source like the darknet. The rise of Monero use in the online drug market will hinder such tracking. However, for the reasons listed above, crypto is unlikely to completely replace regular cash in drug sales in the foreseeable future.
The views on how much cryptocurrency is used and will be used by terrorists vary widely. While some claim that terrorists have no infrastructure to use it and the methods are not secure enough, others argue that they are learning fast and adjust to crypto rapidly. Let’s see what both sides say.
Not actively using, unclear future
Lack of appropriate infrastructure, inability to use crypto. Most terrorist groups settle in the Middle East region, especially on its remote and war-torn territories. The vast majority of roads and technological infrastructure have been destroyed. In such circumstances, cash remains the most common and convenient way to pay and fundraise. Imagine a gun seller in a Syrian village – does it look like he has a tool to accept Monero?
Anonymity threats. Given the relative transparency of blockchain mentioned above, crypto might remain too unsafe for terrorists. Miners can see any potential terrorist money exchange while checking transactions, and it’s not too hard to see who sends them money. It can change with the rising use rate of privacy coins, but the ability to spend such money remains questionable.
Increased attention to crypto by the authorities. As the number of transactions keeps rising, more regulatory bodies’ attention gets focused on cryptocurrency, which apparently makes terrorists nervous and cautious.
Problems of specific currencies. While top cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin receive much regulatory attention, others remain marginal and unreliable because of a lack of support. Conflicts and uncertainty lower the trust to such cryptocurrencies – yes, even terrorists’ trust.
Using actively now, increasingly in the future
Terrorists seem to be rapidly learning to escape from tracking in blockchain. Several years ago it was easy to find any address or transaction made for a terrorists’ fundraiser. Today they use well organized and finely designed websites, where detailed video tutorials show how to donate money anonymously. Unique Bitcoin addresses and other crypto tricks are used to preserve security. Analysts from intelligence services claim there’s only going to be more such cases. And, of course, privacy coins are a “great opportunity” for terrorists too.
Shift to cryptocurrency is a reaction to economic sanctions. ISIS has lost most of its territory and resources, Hamas has been sanctioned by the West. Having been cut off from all main financial institutes, terrorist groups had to find other pathways for their financial activities – and cryptocurrency appeared to be the best substitute.
There might be difficulties and inconveniences, and the number of terrorists using crypto is yet unknown – but as we can see, digital money in terrorism is reality. Same as in drugs. And this is what cryptocurrency is notorious for, lacking trust among millions of people. The reputation of some of the exchange services only adds to this mistrust – ChangeNOW has carried out a special investigation on how such platforms may cheat their clients. But can you buy anything besides heroin and firearms with your crypto? What about pizza or a concert ticket?
Only Antarctica left
Cryptwerk, a platform monitoring actual use cases of different cryptocurrencies, says there are about 3500 ways to spend Bitcoin and more than 800 for Monero today. They range from music services to car rentals, from buying clothes to hotel booking services, and from sports bets to virtual tours.
Organizations accepting cryptocurrency are located on all continents besides Antarctica (what could be a better place for crypto than a continent without governments and countries though?). Mostly, in the USA and Central Europe. Bitcoin as the largest cryptocurrency is relatively widespread in India and Southeast Asia.
As this is a whole another topic, ChangeNOW will issue a post dedicated to use cases of cryptocurrencies. As it will be more detailed, who knows – maybe you’ll find a pizza right by that you could pay for from your crypto wallet!
This article was contributed by Jeremy from ChangeNow.
Buroka Review: How to Buy Bitcoin on Nigeria’s Newest Bitcoin Exchange
Buroka is a new breed of cryptocurrency exchange for Africa! Currently operating in Nigeria, Buroka was designed to fulfill the needs of modern Africans. Buroka allows customers to buy and sell Bitcoin with Naira via Local Transfers and cash deposits at the bank. In this Buroka review, you will learn more about the exchange and how you can use it to buy bitcoin in Nigeria.
How to Buy Bitcoin on Buroka
Step 1: Account Creation
To create an account, visit Buroka.com and hit the “Register” button. This will lead you to a page where you will be asked to fill in your personal information, including your name, email address, and password. Like any other serious exchange, Boruka will ask you for your ID, Proof of Address, and to take a selfie with your ID to eliminate fraud.
Step 2: Fund Your Account
Funding your account on the platform is straightforward. You can deposit either via bank transfer or at any bank branch. Make sure to use a unique reference code given to you by Buroka deposit system.
Step 3: Buying and Selling BTC
Once your deposit has been credited to your account you can immediately buy your Bitcoin. The buying and selling tab is located on the top right corner of the dashboard. There you can input the amount of bitcoin you want to buy. Once you do that, you then click on the “BUY BTC” button.
Step 4: Storing Your BTC
After buying BTC, Buroka provides users with the option of either storing bitcoin on the platform in a BitGo wallet or any other wallet of their choice.
Currently, Buroka only supports bitcoin (BTC). However, the exchange plans to include other cryptocurrencies going forward.
Buroka exchange makes use of Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). 2FA provides an extra layer of protection for users. With the 2FA in place, an extra piece of information is needed before login into the platform or making any withdrawals.
In addition, Buroka’s platform is also protected using the latest security technology, including web-socket and API protocols that allow for a fast and secure order processing. Buroka also makes use of a well-updated SSL certificate, which makes it easy to detect a phishing attempt.
To further ensure that clients’ funds are secure, Buroka operates segregated accounts. These accounts are held with trusted banks so that clients can enjoy an extra layer of security provided by the banking system.
Buroka is a relatively new Bitcoin exchange with a well-designed, user-friendly interface. The Bitcoin trading platform provides several deposit options, which is attractive for Nigerian Bitcoin traders, as well as competitive market rates for both buyers and sellers.
If you are looking to buy or sell bitcoin in Nigeria, you can give Buroka a try.
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