Most people feel cryptocurrency can make a big impact in the unbanked parts of the world. Africa is one place that comes to mind almost immediately. So far, the continent has been pretty quiet on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency regulation. That is slowly coming to change, although not necessarily in a good way. Multiple countries are currently trying to limit the impact of Bitcoin, which will only serve to hinder its growth.
What Does the Future Hold for Bitcoin in Africa?
Although it seems Bitcoin would be a perfect fit for Africa, things may not necessarily work out that way. It appears African governments are looking for ways to prevent cryptocurrencies from making much of an impact right now. This is especially true in Algeria, a country very few people would associate with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Given that government’s stance on this new form of money, this is anything but surprising.
More specifically, the Algerian government wants to rid the country of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies altogether. As is always the case, it remains to be seen how effective such efforts can be, as there is no way anyone can actually ban Bitcoin or cryptocurrency on the protocol level. Algeria may be able to shut down all cryptocurrency exchanges, but that won’t prevent people from buying and selling Bitcoin. In fact, it may only cause more people to show an interest in cryptocurrencies.
Things are not looking much better in Kenya right now. Bringing Bitcoin to that country has always been difficult, despite the best efforts of BitPesa. Safaricom, the mobile operator used by BitPesa, has opposed the Bitcoin-oriented company multiple times in recent years. It seems it will be getting the help of the Kenyan government in this regard, as cryptocurrencies were recently labeled “Ponzi schemes” by the Central Bank of Kenya.
This is not the first time we’ve heard a central bank refer to cryptocurrencies as Ponzi schemes, nor will it be the last time. Indeed, financial institutions like to label this new form of currency as such. It is true that consumers who invest in cryptocurrencies are not protected in any official capacity. However, they do get to control their own money at all times, which is more than can be said about more traditional investment options.
How all of this will play out for Bitcoin in Africa remains to be determined. It is evident that governments all over the world will continue to oppose cryptocurrency for as long as they can. Then again, their efforts may eventually be in vain. It seems there is a lot of friction when it comes to embracing new forms of money, especially those which aren’t issued or controlled by a central bank or government. At the same time, that may be exactly what the world needs right now, seeing how traditional currencies are losing their appeal.
Rest assured the success of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will not hinge on adoption in Africa. All cryptocurrencies are doing just fine without support from this continent. If governments there don’t want to be part of the next financial revolution, that is their choice alone. Individuals can make this decision on their own accord and even oppose the government without too many problems.