Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have really caught on in some interesting parts of the world over the past few years. While it may seem like new places are taking an interest in cryptocurrencies all the time, one large part of the world that has widely neglected the rise of Bitcoin has been Africa. Sure, there are more developed countries such as South Africa and Nigeria who have caught the cryptocurrency bug, but many of the more rural countries have not shown much interest at all.
While we have seen small countries such as Tanzania and Ghana begin to see an uptick in cryptocurrency usage, there are many other areas of the continent who have not so much as heard of crypto. This simple fact is perplexing to many because Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies seem like the perfect solution for the financial dealings of Africans whose countries may not be so developed.
Being that Africa’s continental economy is largely a cash-based one, very few people look at banks (or banking) as a very sensible practice. What’s more, many financial institutions across the continent are less than reliable, so even if a person wanted to utilize a bank, it is sometimes wiser to simply not.
Understanding this second tidbit, you might think that Bitcoin might be the perfect solution to the average African’s banking needs.
After all, with little more than an internet connection, anyone can have their own cryptocurrency “bank account” online. To a lot of people, this seems like the best solution to a problem more common than you might think. In reality, however, such has not proven to be the case.
What is slowly but surely being pinpointed as the biggest roadblock to wider adaptation of cryptocurrencies in Africa is the fact that the Bitcoin education is lacking. Let’s face it, there are plenty of people who are day-to-day users of cryptocurrencies yet do not fully understand the system they are making use of. In large parts of Africa, traditional banking is a foreign concept, so the concept of a cryptocurrency will be even more difficult to comprehend.
In order for Bitcoin, Litecoin, or any other crypto to really catch on and be widely used in Africa, there needs to be a push to educate the general public on why they might want to make the switch from cash to Bitcoin, or why it might be beneficial for them. While going out and spreading awareness of cryptocurrencies seems like the obvious solution to this, it really isn’t.
Another fact that must be faced is that large parts of the continent still live below traditional standards and are not in the business of using smartphones, computers, or the internet, generally speaking. As such, even if one can benefit from Bitcoin, the likelihood that they will even have access to a wallet or exchange is slim to none.
As countries in all parts of Africa continue to develop and their infrastructures grow, the cryptocurrency revolution will dawn and prove to be exactly what everyone has expected it to be for nearly a decade. Rather than the massive switch to Bitcoin that so many people expected, I think we are going to see a slow, gradual shift that is driven by the Western world’s retail adoption of cryptocurrencies.
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