Bitcoin tends to polarise opinions between sceptics and believers, with almost no room for the middle ground. However, there’s a substantial demand for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in many Africa countries.
Do a quick search on Google Trends and you will see three African countries in the top ten of global search interest for the term “bitcoin.” This is a testament to the embrace of bitcoin in a number of leading African economies.
In this guide, you will discover the five leading bitcoin economies in Africa that have the most demand for digital currency as well as the most active local cryptocurrency communities.
Bitcoin is popular among South Africans. According to their search interests on Google, they top the ranking for bitcoin. One particular group bitcoin appeals to is millennials. South Africa has a lot of them. Young people between the ages of 15 to 34 years old make up 20.6 million people – 35.7 percent of the total population, according to Statistics South Africa’s 2018 mid-year population estimate report. Combined with the fact that the country has one of the highest internet penetration rates in Africa, the country has become a sweet spot for many cryptocurrency exchanges.
The online multi-asset broker, eToro, reported a 671 percent increase in new users trading between January and November 2017, and a 574 percent increase a year before. LocalBitcoins, one of the largest peer-to-peer (P2P) bitcoin marketplaces in the world, saw over 600 percent increase in trading volume between January and December 2017, according to data from CoinDance.
The latest report by Ecobank on the state of cryptocurrency regulation in sub-Saharan Africa shows only two – South Africa and Swaziland – have a favourable stance on cryptocurrencies. The bank analysed 39 African countries.
The South African Reserve Bank has stated that virtual currencies pose no significant risk to financial stability, price stability or the National Payment System.
Africa’s second-largest economy has been struggling to stand on both feet for the past two years; the economy has refused to grow. In light of this, bitcoin has become a haven from the political and economic turmoil.
In Nigeria, many local traders and activists believe this is an opportunity to liberate themselves from a flailing economy using digital currencies and blockchain technology.
The main driving force for Nigeria’s strong bitcoin adoption could be tied to the prolonged dollar shortage in the country in 2016 and 2017. The government had devalued the currency and inflation was at rising rapidly. Bitcoin was a viable means for Nigerians to work around the lack of access to foreign exchange and also preserve their money from being eroded by inflation.
In the week of August 19, 2017, LocalBitcoins’ trading volume crossed the 1 billion naira mark (about $360 million) in Nigeria. The exchange’s weekly trading volume has not traded less than that amount since then. Local crypto exchanges have also been on the rise in the country giving more people access to a broader range of cryptocurrencies.
The situation in Nigeria is not too dissimilar from Zimbabwe. A cash-strapped economy, failing currency and depleted foreign exchange markets saw locals turn to bitcoin as a store of value. Golix, the leading crypto exchange in Zimbabwe, says it processed bitcoin transactions worth around $1 million during October 2017. The price of bitcoin had once risen more than double the average price in other countries in 2017.
However, in 2018, the relationship between financial regulators and crypto businesses have been strained. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) decided to ban all local financial institutions from servicing cryptocurrency businesses. There have been court cases and more back and forth between the country’s leading crypto exchange, Golix and the RBZ, but as it stands it is difficult for local exchanges to operate within the country’s borders.
Young Zimbabweans – desperate to overcome the foreign currency and liquidity challenges plaguing the country – have found innovative ways around the ban though. Recently, Cryptogem Global defied the ban and opened a branch in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. Remitano and LocalBitcoins have also been servicing crypto fans in Zimbabweans.
A Citibank research in December 2017 ranked Kenya among countries with the largest bitcoin holdings worth $1.63 billion, approximately 2.3 percent of the GDP.
The East African country has one of the highest bitcoin trading volumes in Africa. The weekly trading volume on LocalBitcoins jumped by almost 429 percent in 2017 and has only dipped by 19 percent this year despite bitcoin losing two-thirds of its value.
Also, local innovators have launched cryptocurrency systems to support payments and cross-border transactions, as embodied by initiatives like BitPesa.
Kenya is also one of the few countries in Africa with a Bitcoin ATM. Others are Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Djibouti.
Ghanaians began the year 2018 with a statement from the Bank of Ghana (BOG) cautioning the public about the use of bitcoins.
The central bank also expressed an interest in introducing cyber security guidelines to guide the use of digital currencies in the country. The central bank presented a bill referred to as Payment Systems and Services Bill to the Ghanian parliament. The BOG also hailed the potential of the technology behind bitcoin, blockchain.
A report earlier in 2018 shows Paxful, one of the prominent P2P exchange in Africa, monthly bitcoin volume in Africa is now around $40 million. The company’s most active locations are Nigeria and Ghana, the second and third largest markets respectively.
There are also several local bitcoin and blockchain startups, such as Bitland and BTCGhana.
Is Egypt Finally Warming Up to Bitcoin?
A new banking law has given the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) the right to ban the establishment, promotion or operation of platforms issuing or trading cryptocurrencies without acquiring the required licenses. However, this move suggests that the country is softening its stance on bitcoin as it enables crypto startups to operate under an official license.
The New Banking Law
According to an unnamed official source that spoke to MENA news agency, CBE’s Board of Directors has the right to regulate cryptocurrencies and demand for multiple licenses under the new draft bill. The draft bill acknowledges the importance of financial technology, keeping pace with global banking changes, and leveraging modern technology to provide financial and banking services.
“The new law provides legal authority for the electronic authentication of bank transactions, electronic payment orders, and transfer orders as well as for the electronic settlement of checks and the issuance and circulation of electronic checks and electronic discount orders provided that Board of Directors of CBE issue rules and procedures regulating all the aforementioned actions,” the source said.
Furthermore, these electronic means will have the same authenticity as original papers as long as they meet the set technical criteria, the source stated.
The new draft bill is not yet available for public reading.
Is Egypt Warming Up to Crypto?
In 2018, Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawki Allam banned cryptocurrencies based on Islamic law that declared these currencies as potential threats to the current financial system and risky due to scams and extreme price fluctuations. Moreover, he disregarded cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, because they can be issued and used without the control of any governing authority.
How easy or difficult it will be for crypto startups to register for licenses remains to be seen. However, it does signal a willingness by Egyptian authorities to talk with the industry as opposed to outright ban it as has been the case previously.
Crypto.com Introduces Crypto Earn and Crypto Credit
Cryptocurrency platform Crypto.com has introduced Crypto Earn and Crypto Credit to enable users to earn interest on their coins and borrow by using digital currency as collateral.
Crypto Earn And Crypto Credit
Crypto Earn is a financial product that allows users to earn as much as eight percent per annum in interest on their cryptoasset holdings.
To do this, users deposit digital assets into Crypto Earn through the Crypto.com app and then begin accumulating interest each day through their preferred cryptocurrency. To get started with Crypto Earn, users will have bitcoin, Paxos, and TrueUSD to choose from, according to a company press release.
Crypto.com is offering users two fixed periods namely one-month and three-month terms to earn interest on digital assets. The company will soon provide users with a flexible holding term. With Crypto Earn, you can also withdraw and deposit coins at no fees and spend what you earn.
Crypto Credit gives users instant loans with bitcoin as collateral. Users are free from fixed repayment schedules, monthly fees, payment deadlines, and late fees which financial institutions such as banks often impose. Users, therefore, enjoy a flexible repayment schedule in the twelve months from the beginning of the credit term.
Furthermore, users owning MCO tokens staked in the app receive a special rate of eight percent per annum. Users can use their loans to buy more cryptocurrencies on the app or they can spend it on the MCO Visa Card with cash back of up to five percent.
Other benefits of using Crypto Credit are that you do not require credit checks and that you can get the credit limit you want.
“Crypto Earn offers the most attractive interest rates in the market today. With the MCO Visa Card and Crypto Credit, we are uniquely positioned to do it while maintaining sustainable unit economics. MCO Visa Card, Crypto Earn, and Crypto Credit together form a powerful product suite that nobody else in the industry has today. We have never been more excited about the potential of our platform and look forward to continue scaling it globally later this year,” said Kris Marszalek, co-founder and CEO of Crypto.com.
Different Kinds of Bitcoin Trading Strategies You Should Know About
Bitcoin has been around for over 10 years now. There are a lot of things that have evolved with it over the years, including how easy and secure it is to buy, the different ways we can buy it, and the various bitcoin trading strategies that people use now.
There are a lot of bitcoin trading strategies now that it could intimidate a lot of newbies trying to get into bitcoin. The truth is, each strategy caters to a specific kind of trader so if you’re new, these strategies might be worth looking into before you invest any kind of money.
To help get you started on choosing the kind of strategy you’re looking for, here are the two most common strategies that bitcoin traders use:
You may have seen this slang around while doing your research. “HODL” refers to holding your position. It was created in 2013 when bitcoin’s price was dropping but a certain user decided not to sell his shares. He meant to write “HOLDing” but ended up making a typo instead: “HODLing”. It eventually caught on and people decided to give it a new meaning: “Holding On for Dear Life.”
The HODLing strategy refers to the holding of your bitcoins in hopes that your investment will grow over time. To start HODLing, buy bitcoins in bulk when the price is low and then keep it close while watching the crypto market. People can hold their positions from weeks to months to even more than a year. It’s the easiest and one of the more common trading strategies.
Day-trading is another very common form of trading in the bitcoin world. The strategy refers to closing all your positions before the day ends. It involves executing long and short trades to capitalize on the market price of that day. Basically, this prevents having open positions overnight by finishing all your trades within the day.
It’s a more technical form of trading and it requires your full attention and a lot of your time. You’ll need to keep a close eye on all your positions and possibly watch multiple screens to do so. It requires a high degree of focus as well as a good knowledge of how the crypto industry works.
Just getting started
These two trading strategies are literally the most common forms of trading. There are so many more strategies such as swing trading and alt-coin filipping that you’ll need to learn but these two should get you started on your bitcoin journey.
Now, all you’ll have to do is decide on which of the two suits you more. Be sure to figure out your game plan before getting into bitcoin at all and your style should follow.
This guest post was contributed by cryptocurrency education and news platform WeAreCryptos.
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