Interesting Facts You Need to Know About Bitcoin in Africa

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. It is a decentralised digital currency without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries. The currency is rapidly gaining momentum in Africa, especially in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Ghana.

In June 2021, Tanzania’s central bank said that it is working on President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s directive to prepare for cryptocurrencies […] The new president, who came to power after the death of her predecessor in March, said this month the arrival of digital currencies in the East Africa nation was inevitable.

How does Bitcoin work?

  • You need a bitcoin wallet account on your computer or smartphone.
  • You can sell, buy, send, and receive using your wallet.
  • Your transactions are recorded in a public ledger called the blockchain.
  • Bitcoin transactions are secured using cryptography.
facts about bitcoin.
Botswana’s bitcoiners wearing t-shirts with a bitcoin logo.

FiFi Finance looks at interesting bitcoin facts and initiatives regarding Bitcoin on the continent.

Social causes

  • Through its #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative, Paxful, a crypto trading platform, has built two schools in Rwanda and is currently building a school in Kenya and Nigeria. The platform plans on using bitcoin donations to build schools in Africa and other parts of the world.
  • Paxful launched its first university education drive in Kenya and South Africa to expose youth to the true use cases of bitcoin, highlight how to avoid falling prey to bad actors in the crypto-space, and counter the over-emphasis on bitcoin speculation.
  • The Satoshi Centre, founded in 2014, serves as a focal point for Botswana bitcoin community.

    Philanthropy meets bitcoin in Rwanda.
    Philanthropy meets bitcoin in Rwanda.

Events

  • The Blockchain Africa Conference is the leading blockchain and cryptocurrency conference in Africa bringing together experts to learn how companies and individuals are using this technology on the continent.
  • Taking place on 30 October, 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa, The Crypto Fest 2019 will provide insight into the various cryptocurrencies that exist, highligh the more interesting ones, in terms of adoption and market capitalisation, and will explore the exponential opportunities cryptocurrencies offer.
Botswana's first Bitcoin ATM.
Botswana’s first Bitcoin ATM.

Bitcoin Automated Teller Machine (BATM)

  • There are 15 BATMs in Africa located in Botswana, Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, and Djibouti.

Regulations

  • South Africa’s Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) composed of the National Treasury, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, the South African Reserve Bank and the South African Revenue Service has launched a regulatory sandbox to test new crypto related products and services that push the boundaries of existing regulations. Firms in the sandbox include Centbee, an app to store, send and spend Bitcoin SV in South Africa and Investec Bank, which is working a crypto custody solution.
  • In 2018, the South African Revenue Service said that normal tax rules are applicable to crypto earnings.
  • In 2017, a committee was set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in 2017 to look into the possibility of the country adopting the technology driving bitcoin and other digital currencies – blockchain.

Bitcoin fraud in Africa

  • A bitcoin investment company, Velox 10, disappeared with with millions of Kenyan shillings in 2019.
  • A bitcoin company, Calabar, disappeared with millions of Nigerian naira. The company promised customers 30 percent earning from bitcoin online trading.
  • In May 2018, South African authorities said they were investigating an alleged bitcoin scam, involving a company called Bitcoin Global that defrauded investors of 1 billion rand ($80 million) with promises of huge returns. The company promised customers that they would earn 2 percent per day, 14 percent a week and 50 percent in a month.
  • Angry South Africans looted and torched the home of a man who reportedly operated an alleged bitcoin scam in South Africa.

Bonus global fun fact

“Fun Fact: Thus far in Bitcoin’s history, there has never been a period where you could buy-and-hold for 3 years and not be able to sell at a profit. During most three-year spans, the profits would be dramatic.” – The Bitcoin/Government Battle is Vaporware

Conclusion

In 2018, Paxful, one of the largest peer-to-peer (P2P) bitcoin marketplaces in the world, reported that it had seen a 200%+ increase in users in Africa over the previous 12 months.

Further reading

Ndesanjo is an experienced blogger and journalist. He was named one of 100 Influential Africans in Media Category. His mission is simple: making finance work for everyone. Read more about Ndesanjo and the whole editorial team at FiFi.