Although Africa’s economies may be lagging behind its more developed counterparts, it seems that the continent is not immune to the global fintech revolution. Africa started witnessing a substantial surge in fintech startups in 2015. The total funding from venture capitalists spiked by 51 percent to $195 million between 2016 and 2017, with fintech funding accounting for a third of the amount. That’s a significant amount given that total global funding for seed-stage companies, early-stage venture capitalist rounds, and VC rounds was $851 million, $7.137 billion, and $6.9 billion respectively.
Currently, there are well over 300 startups in operation all over the continent — 94 operate in South Africa, 74 in Nigeria, and 56 in Kenya. It’s not a surprise that these three countries are spearheading the fintech revolution in Africa as they are considered the top three investment destinations in Africa.
Regional comparisons in fintech adoption show that South Africa is in the lead with around 35 percent of fintech startups concentrated in the region. West Africa follows close behind with around 34 percent.
Africa’sfintech industry to a large extent owes its existence to the development of M-Pesa, a Kenyan-based mobile money transfer service that has given Kenyans the ability to access financial services away from banks. Currently, the platform supports over 25 million customers in over ten markets in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The number of M-Pesa users has grown by 32 percent from 17.12 million to 22.62 million as of June 2017. The massive success enjoyed by M-Pesa has influenced other FinTech companies to join the finance sector to develop financial solutions such as those offered by M-Pesa.
Fintech Implementation in Africa
Fintech companies in Africa are mostly focusing on two broad categories:
- payments and transfers;
- lending and finance.
Of the two categories, payments and transfers have recorded an influx of startup companies compared to the others. Reports show that a majority of these startups focus mainly on simplifying the process of sending and receiving money.
Some fintech companies in Africa that are taking major steps in revolutionising the finance sector in Africa include (aside from M-Pesa):
- Flutterwave has operations in over 36 countries and is partnered with 10 African banks. It provides payment technologies and infrastructure to Africa’s largest financial institutions. Today, Flutterwave has processed over $1.2 billion in payments. The primary goal of Flutterwave is to provide solutions for enterprises, entrepreneurs, and banks alike. It presents its customers with no special, annual, or upfront project fees. Instead, Flutterwave bridges the digital payments gap that exists between users and banks. Their Nigerian customers can execute money transfers directly into several bank accounts without any hassle.
- Pezesha, initially launched in Kenya, is a peer-to-business micro-lending marketplace made up of low-income borrowers. In Africa, formal credit services are hard to attain, and on top of that, they have incredibly high interest rates. Therefore, most Africans are unable to secure reliable credit facilities that they can safely payback. Users of Pezesha can acquire instant loans on their mobile phones via SMS provided that minimum criteria are met. Apart from low-income earners, Pezesha also extends its services to SMEs that make up 80 percent of Africa’s employment. It not only drives up the economies of the continent but ensures the continued existence of small businesses across the continent.
- Cellulant, a digital commerce and payments service provider, is well established and operational in 11 countries. The company works with over 90 banks. The Cellulant ecosystem has support for over 100 million customers. As of January last year, the company served roughly 12 percent of Africa’s mobile consumers who utilise the platform to make payments. This year, Cellulant raised $47.5 million from a collection of investors that included Satya Capital, TPG Growth, Endeavour Catalyst, and the Rise Fund.
- Tala, a mobile technology company that’s providing access to credit by putting mobile credit services into the hands of consumers, is operational in several countries in Africa and outside Africa. The company leverages an android app that collects data from each consumer, determines their credit score, and disburses a loan in <10 minutes. So far, the company has disbursed over a million dollars to individuals in East Africa and outside Africa.
- Numida, a digital financial services company situated in Uganda, won the Kampala Seedstar World Competition in 2017. The company boasts of a 99 percent repayment rate and has since disbursed about 190 loans to 135 Ugandan SMEs. Other than providing small unsecured loans to small businesses, the firm helps these businesses digitise their financial records through the Numida app. Through the Numida app, Numida can assess a client’s creditworthiness and then issues an appropriately sized unsecured loan.
Potential of using Fintech in Africa
Africa is an immense continent with different economies supporting a total population of about 1 billion individuals residing in 54 sovereign countries. Surprisingly, only about 17 percent of the entire African population is banked. With nearly 80 percent of the total population still unbanked (and up to 95 million unbanked adults in Sub-Saharan Africa alone), Africa offers a unique breeding ground for the development of the fintech industry. A significant underbanked population ensures that fintech will most likely be an enabler of financial inclusion.
Innovation takes time and is often a collection of economies and nations that have the financial capability to invest, research, and develop on a broader scale. African nations, not having the same capabilities as developed nations, are provided with a unique opportunity that they can leverage. They can ‘jump’ inferior and redundant stages of technology advancement and go straight to adopting innovations. For example, currently, millions of Africans are in possession of mobile phone devices without ever going through the hassle of owning a landline at all. A phase that already-developed nations could not have skipped.
Technology is a crucial driver of businesses and entrepreneurship today. Due to this, financial procedures have been developing extremely fast, and there is an immense transformation in many aspects of financial processes. The Internet penetration rate in Africa recently stood at around 35.2 percent while the mobile penetration rate in the continent stands at 44 percent. Out of these two, Kenya emerges as the strongest African country, as it has an internet penetration rate of 85 percent and a mobile penetration rate of 95.1 percent.
According to GSMA, mobile money accounts in Africa have surpassed traditional bank accounts. Mobile money accounts have been on the rise, with statistics showing a steady growth in numbers from 0.2 million to 277 million between 2007 and 2016. The number of active bank accounts in Africa was 178 million as of December 2015. This huge difference in numbers indicates the potential that Africa offers to fintech startups focused on providing payment solutions. Technology innovation coupled with increasing Internet and mobile penetration rates have made the growth of African fintech companies a possibility. Subsequently, this has substantially increased investor interest in the sector even further.
Africa Welcoming Innovation
The fintech revolution in Africa is not a PR stunt. Fintech companies are attracting a previously unbanked population while at the same time retaining already existing traditional bank customers. Digitisation is helping financial institutions deliver digital financial products and services to a greater number of customers across the continent.
Increased dependence on these innovative fintech companies is projected to reduce demand for bank services. Subsequently, this could lead to bank branches shut down, with only a few remaining as destinations for problem resolution, advice, etc. For example, Kenya’s M-Pesa mobile payment services have made it possible for P2P mobile payments to be made both locally and internationally.
These startups are redefining the industry’s perception of what it means to be called a bank. Not only do they offer bank-like services, but they also avail loans, process financial transactions, and innovate much faster than banks.
Africa is hopping onto the fintech bandwagon, learning from the experiences of developed economies such as Asia, America, and Europe, and even leapfrogging past unnecessary steps, straight to modern innovation.
This guest post was contributed by Paweł Tomczyk, founder of the blockchain-focused content marketing agency Cyberius.
Why Cryptocurrencies Are Going to Be the Future of Gaming
Do you know that many predict that online gambling will depend on Crypto in the future? Of course, this makes a lot of sense since digital currencies have become a universal asset in recent years. By the way, we can also say that casinos have benefited greatly from cryptocurrencies.
Aside from the fact that the gambling scene has expanded horizons, it has also bragged of unimaginable game lovers in no time. From this, you should have known that there is still another reason behind these gaming assumptions. But you know what? Sit with us!
Let’s look at the major reasons digital currencies will be the future of the betting industry.
Why Are Cryptocurrencies Going to be the Future of Gaming?
1. Players earn more
Today, cryptocurrencies serve as a way for players to make big bucks. Therefore, it is no longer news that the future of games is a digital currency. Thanks to cryptocurrency, the days when players had to make deposits to play their favorite games without a chance to win are over.
Moreover, digital currencies have continued to function as a major source of income for all punters. For example, it has a special way of rewarding players who have completed certain gaming tasks. These rewards are exceptionally offered by purchasing in-game items with in-game cryptocurrencies, contributing to crypto status.
2. Fast transaction
With fast trading via cryptocurrencies, there is reason to believe that betting sites with local play payment options such as Neteller, Skrill, and bank transfers have little future. This is because it takes time to confirm these payment options.
Speaking of cryptocurrencies, you don’t have to wait long to receive payments. Your account will be credited in a blink of an eye. So tell us! Would you like to leave the crypto-based betting platform for the traditional betting platform? We are doubtful of that! Believe us, it’s coming to the stage where only cryptocurrency game forums exist.
3. Ability to play anywhere
Cryptocurrency eliminates the need to be able to play only in physical casinos. Consequently, it’s a bonus point for the development of online gambling. With this, players can easily access multiple casino games, like a huge catalog of bitcoin slots, and gamble anywhere without fear of being cut off from their betting experience.
Imagine depositing and withdrawing funds from anywhere in the world without restrictions. This means that instead of using other currencies, you can use cryptocurrency tokens to play games in any location. Besides, we all want a stress-free life, and cryptocurrencies have made things easier than we thought. Therefore, there is no upper limit; digital currencies thrive in the gambling market.
4. Gamblers are better safe with Crypto
With the introduction of blockchain in the gambling industry, gamblers are much less likely to constantly fear being victims of data privacy breaches on gambling platforms. As far as we know, cryptocurrencies have the highest level of security to protect players from unforeseen circumstances.
Besides, you don’t have to reveal your financial and personal details on the gaming sites if you wish. That’s because, with crypto gambling, you can play anonymously and still have access to unlimited offers on the sites.
Of course, the technology behind casino games and digital currencies is practical, but you can’t deny that they fit like gloves. You can also buy and sell these digital assets for the benefit of gambling. So no doubt! Over time, the game world will become more eye-catching, and ultimately there will be no gambling forum without cryptocurrencies.
The History of Bitcoin, the First Cryptocurrency
Bitcoin (BTC) has taken investors and the rest of the globe on a wild ride from its modest origins in 2008. The Bitcoin price fluctuated for over a decade, eventually reaching tens of thousands of dollars. Read on to learn about the history of Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is a decentralized electronic trade between individuals. In layman’s terms, individuals may transfer money to one another without going through a bank or intermediary. Bitcoin was created to facilitate financial transactions without dependence on the government or large financial institutions. Bitcoin users may deal with one another through the blockchain, which tracks transactions and the bitcoin price using a “proof-of-work” technique.
Some believe Bitcoin will someday replace fiat money. Despite Bitcoin’s shortcomings, venture investors remain hopeful about the progress in the Bitcoin price achieved since the cryptocurrency’s inception. The emergence of Bitcoin has gathered a group of individuals thrilled about the advent of cryptocurrencies and the possibilities they will provide for companies and investors. Furthermore, Bitcoin has spawned dozens of alternative digital currencies.
When Did Bitcoin Start?
During the 2008 Great Recession, the role of banks in the financial sector was investigated. This was when Bitcoin was created, and a Bitcoin price was established. People claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper about the problems with centralized money management and the importance of trust when dealing with other people’s money.
Transaction costs can add up in the traditional financial system when a transaction can be undone or changed by a third party. The goal of bitcoin was to eliminate the need for a middleman in commercial transactions. Instead of depending on banks and other institutions outside the network to verify network integrity, the Bitcoin system employs cryptographic proof.
The first block was mined in 2009, marking the formal launch of the blockchain. A week on, the first test transaction was done. The only individuals who could obtain it for the first several months were miners who could check the Bitcoin price on the blockchain. Miners would exchange Bitcoins for no other purpose than to have fun. Miners are individuals who utilize very powerful computers to solve complicated mathematical problems to discover new Bitcoins and ensure that previous Bitcoin transactions are honest and accurate.
For another year, there weren’t any major transactions involving the new medium of exchange. Shortly thereafter, in 2010, a Florida resident offered some 10,000 BTC in a bid to have the priceless $25 commodity come home. His name was Pizza John. With this deal, the world had its first genuine Bitcoin prices set at some four Bitcoins for every penny. On average, this haul of Bitcoin compares to approximately $400 million in modern money. Interestingly, crypto enthusiasts have set aside May 22 to mark the groundbreaking occasion, known as “Pizza Day.”
The Price of Bitcoin in the Past
One feature that distinguishes Bitcoin price is its volatility. Because Bitcoin is a novel asset, there is a lot of speculation about it, and its value is widely discussed. Despite fluctuating prices, Bitcoin’s value has skyrocketed since its inception in 2009. Bitcoin’s history has been chiefly one of fast growth, punctuated by a few dramatic price declines here and there. Bitcoin surpassed the $1 milestone in February 2011.
Bitcoin price was less than $2 initially, but then it went up. It had its first bubble in June 2011, rising to above $31 before falling into the single-digit price range. After more than two years, Bitcoin finally reached $200 in April 2013. It was worth more than $1,000 by November of the same year. In November 2017, the fee was raised to $10,000. In November 2021, it reached a high of close to $68,990. That doesn’t mean the journey was without incident.
Bitcoin was called a bubble in 2017 because investors paid more for it than the Bitcoin price was worth. According to Furo, the 2017-2018 bubble was largely caused by an increase in initial coin offerings or ICOs. Some experienced investors compare the Bitcoin bubble to the end-of-the-century internet boom.
Everyone was talking about Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, a new network or protocol, from wealthy hedge fund investors to your neighbor. The ICO craze boosted the cryptocurrency market by billions of dollars. The beginning of 2018 saw a significant drop in the Bitcoin price due to psychological and technical issues. When the price of Bitcoin fell, a “mature market” developed around it.
Because of these changes in the Bitcoin price, the Bitcoin market has matured considerably. Established efficient and intelligent exchanges are taking the necessary steps to create a self-sustaining and viable market for investing and trading in Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, and key institutional-grade participants are following suit.
Right now, the Bitcoin price is around $37,000. It’s far away from its all-time high and post-peak low. Earle claims that no one knows the inventor- Satoshi Nakamoto. This topic can be discussed, speculated, and may lead to conspiracy theories.
One of these theories holds that Bitcoin is a “skunk work” or top-secret project of a company like Alphabet Inc. or an intelligence service. Others believe it is a “trap-door project” that will be taken over by a bad person waiting in the wings. Earle considers Bitcoin’s present to be more important than its past. He argues that the predominant evidence points to two primary, widely held ideas. The first is: Like anything else, money is actually a good. Secondly, money results from a given market process.
Cryptocurrencies have almost wholly supplanted conventional money, but the Bitcoin price is still maturing, and Bitcoin is becoming a value store and unit of account.
So, what is the future of Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency and the Bitcoin price? Nobody knows, but Furo believes it would be lovely and intriguing.
New, low-cost, and simple investment options are becoming a reality. The Bitcoin price will make acquiring bitcoins even more accessible to many individuals. Such access would be comparable to that of well-known markets. Keep in mind that no investment is without risk.
Weekly Roundup: Binance Announces Zero Bitcoin Trading Fees to Celebrate 5th Anniversary & More
In this week’s news roundup, you’ll read about Binance announcing a fee-free spot trading on various Bitcoin trading pairs, Celo launching a Web3 fund geared towards African startups looking to transition from Web2 to Web3, US commodities regulator filing a civil charge on a South African Bitcoin scam for fraud, and more.
Binance Announces Zero Bitcoin Trading Fees to Celebrate 5th Anniversary
To celebrate its fifth anniversary, Binance has announced that it will eliminate trading fees on a variety of Bitcoin spot trading pairs.
Although Binance has always offered and maintained the lowest spot trading fees in the cryptocurrency industry, this move will see the exchange establish itself as the global leader in pricing.
Speaking about the announcement, Binance Founder and CEO “CZ” (Changpeng Zhao) said: “In line with our user-first philosophy, Binance has always strived to provide the most competitive fees in the industry. At its core, Binance is an inclusive platform with accessibility in mind. Eliminating the trading fees on selected BTC spot trading pairs is another move towards that direction.”
From July 8, Binance users will enjoy zero trading fees on 13 stablecoin and fiat combinations including BTC/USDT, BTC/BUSD, BTC/USDC, BTC/EUR, BTC/TRY, among others. The new fees will be in effect until further notice. This means that users on the crypto exchange will be able to enjoy fee-free trading beyond the two weeks planned for anniversary celebrations.
Celo Launches a Web3 Fund for African Startups Looking to Migrate to Web3 From Web2
Celo, a mobile-first blockchain ecosystem geared towards building an all-inclusive financial system, has announced the launch of its Web3 fund that will support African startups developing across payments, remittance, related financial services, savings, and virtual assets.
Through its VC partners, the Celo Africa Web3 Fund will provide financial investments to African startups. In addition, the company will offer technical assistance via the Celo Developer Guild and its technical partners such as Ape Unit and Tatum. Both the financial investments and technical assistance offered will make it possible for Web2 founders in the African continent to adopt a strategy and grow their business to achieve deeper financial inclusion, lower transaction costs, and more affordable credit.
Celo, together with its various partners, has already made an open call for Web2 founders in Africa to apply for the Celo Africa Web3 Fund by July 15, 2022, and has pledged that they will support shortlisted candidates through their transition to Web3.
The fund will include an in-person workshop across five African countries with the first in-country workshop slated for July 26, 2022. Additional workshops are expected to follow in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda between July and November 2022.
South African Company Charged by the US CFTC for Bitcoin Fraud Worth Over $1.7 Billion
The US commodities regulator, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has filed civil charges against Mirror Trading International Proprietary Limited (MTI), a South African company, and its CEO, for running a fraudulent Bitcoin commodity pool worth over $1.7 billion and over registration violations.
According to CFTC, the company and its CEO, Cornelius Johannes Steynberg, solicited Bitcoin online between May 2018 and March 2021, from thousands of people, including 23,000 Americans. Additionally, it said that the company instead of trading forex as it had registered itself as, embezzled pool funds, lied about using trading bots, faked account statements, misrepresented trading and performance, and used a fake broker in instances where the trade actually happened.
The Ponzi scheme is the largest involving bitcoin fraud the CTFC has handled. Moreover, the regulator also stated that Steynberg was a fugitive until he was recently arrested in Brazil by Interpol.
Cardano Accelerator Adaverse Funds Seso Property Marketplace to Boost Cardano’s Adoption
Adaverse Fund, a Cardano VC accelerator fund created to boost the development of Web3-based solutions in the African continent, has announced its participation in Seso Global’s fundraising.
Seso Global is an online real estate property marketplace that leverages blockchain technology to reinvent Africa’s real estate industry. The company utilizes blockchain to provide a marketplace that supports secure and risk-free digital land transactions between buyers, financial institutions, land agencies, property owners, and professionals that service the real estate value chain.
The funding round saw venture capital firms, Adaverse, Columbus Angel Network, Emurgo Africa, Kepple Africa Ventures, Moabi Group, and Rising Tide take part. In addition, Jamie Broderick, Albert Essient, and Ibrahim Sagna also took part as angel investors.
“This partnership is key for Seso Global as it provides us with necessary partners and experts to expand our Web3 offerings. We are now seeing the growth of Blockchain real estate solutions and with Adaverse, Seso will be a trailblazer for the industry in Africa. We are confident that Cardano will see strong growth in Africa due to its lower energy needs and cost of the Blockchain.” says Daniel Bloch, CEO and co-founder of Seso Global.
Adaverse was established in September 2021 as a joint venture partnership between Everest Ventures and EMURGO Africa to not only identify but also provide valuable support and resources to propitious African founders developing the next wave of Web3 decentralized applications (DApps) in decentralized finance (DeFi), gaming, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the metaverse, and more on Cardano’s third-generation and environmentally-sustainable blockchain.
To learn more about Bitcoin, download the Bitcoin Beginner’s Handbook for free.
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