Growing Bitcoin Economies in Africa: Top 5 countries
Bitcoin is the most widely used cryptocurrency in the world. Despite many still being skeptical about cryptocurrencies like bitcoins, the demand, and usage of bitcoins are growing all over the world. Africa is not left behind in this. The demand for bitcoins is quite considerable in the continent of Africa, with a sizeable number of leading African economies embracing bitcoins. Even the smallest country in Africa has a high demand for cryptocurrencies.
Here are the top 4 leading bitcoin economies in Africa, with a high demand for digital currency and active cryptocurrency communities.
1. South Africa
A quick look at the South African search interest trends on Google will tell you that ‘bitcoin’ tops the list. Bitcoins are very popular among Millenials in South Africa. South Africa has a very high internet penetration rate, hence it’s not a surprise that young South Africans are indulging in cryptocurrency exchanges in a considerably large scale. eToro (online cryptocurrency broker) stated that in 2017, between January and November, the number of new users trading in bitcoins has increased as much as by 671%. LocalBitcoins (a peer to peer bitcoin marketplace) reported a more than 600% increase in the volume of bitcoin trading as well. South Africa is the second-largest economy in the continent of Africa, which has lately been grappling with economic and political hardships. The rise of bitcoins seems to have become a way to grow its otherwise stagnant economy.
Bitcoins are also popular among Nigerians, many of whom view bitcoins as an opportunity to rescue themselves from a drowning economy, using cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. In the years 2016 and 2017, there was an acute and continued shortage of dollars, which lead to a strong force for adopting bitcoins. Following the devaluation of the currency by the Nigerian government and the simultaneously rising inflation, bitcoin became a means for the people in Nigeria to cope with the shortage of foreign exchange and also for safeguarding their money in the face of inflation. The bitcoin trading volume in Nigeria was almost 360 million dollars in 2017. Local cryptocurrency exchanges have been rising since, and Nigerians are dealing with a bigger range of cryptocurrencies.
In terms of the economic scenario, Zimbabwe is much similar to Nigeria. Zimbabwe too had an economy strapped for cash, with a rapidly falling currency and large scale depletion of foreign exchange markets, which led the local citizens to adopt bitcoin as a currency. During October 2017, Golix, a cryptocurrency exchange, recorded bitcoin trading worth approximately a million dollars. However, the relationship between cryptocurrency businesses and financial regulators has been difficult, with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe banning local financial firms from serving crypto businesses. However, the young population of Zimbabwe has been continuously making attempts and working their way around the ban and adopts bitcoins.
Kenya is a country with one of the biggest holdings of bitcoins in the world. The worth of bitcoins in Kenya constitutes as much as 2.3% of the GDP in the Kenyan economy. With the highest bitcoin trading volumes in Africa, Kenya is a country that has a bitcoin ATM (only a few African countries have one). In 2017, bitcoin trading volume increased by 429% as reported by LocalBitcoins.
The transactions initiated in terms of cryptocurrency were initially banned in Morocco during the financial year of 2017. However, the country still remains to be one of the leaders in Bitcoins exchange. It is estimated that Morocco is the 4th highest Bitcoin user in all of Africa which automatically makes it one of the most promising Bitcoins using economy in the continent.