Driving Blockchain Adoption in Latin America and Africa

Data & Research / 10.07.2020

Blockchain technology has been developing at an impressively fast rate. Various industries worldwide are shaping their narrative by using blockchain technology to suit individual qualities and needs. About 12% of the energy and resources industries around the world are using blockchain. Other sectors, such as media companies, adopt blockchain to enforce digital rights and payments to content creators.

Blockchain adoption in Latin America and Africa has been off to a slow start, but these regions are now catching up to the use of blockchain. This article will address how Latin America and Africa are driving blockchain adoption through various use cases. 

Blockchain Adoption in Latin America

Currently, Latin America has the highest number of cryptocurrency users worldwide. The region faces a fluctuating local and foreign currency environment with a high number of citizens facing unemployment. These facts have pushed locals to find a cushioning amid the crisis. Blockchain adoption in the region proves to be a solution for a crippled political and financial system.

Countries like Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay are examples of those who have embraced blockchain technology. Others, like Colombia, have not yet accepted cryptocurrencies openly. Nonetheless, citizens are campaigning for the implementation of blockchain in the voting system. Mexico is among the few countries with laws approving crypto exchanges, which require the Central Bank’s approval. The “Ley Fintech” law regulates crypto businesses, assets, and APIs, among others.

Others, such as Bolivia and Ecuador, have banned cryptocurrencies. El Salvador has banned ICOs but has no regulations regarding cryptocurrencies. However, they are on the front line when advising against cryptocurrency use with countries like Honduras, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic. Cuba has banned most exchanges within its region, making financial transactions a hassle. 

Overall, many Latin American countries have no specific regulations concerning cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Here are several exciting blockchain projects within Latin America that will help blockchain technology in the region.

  • SystemaD

This is a blockchain project that Bitcoin Argentina, an Argentinian NGO, established to involve the financially unfortunate country. The project aims to provide financial services to people across the country. It also involves entrepreneurship and financial literacy programs, amongst others. 

Bitcoin Argentina has been active since 2013. It has been out to explore blockchain potentials and spread understanding within Latin America. The NGO has consultations, training, and conferences, weekly and monthly meetings, among other services. It has a blockchain local news broadcast called I am not Satoshi, which airs updates on bitcoin and blockchain.

  • Ecolones

The ecolon is an environmental conservation program based in Costa Rica that rewards people using the ecolon coin. This project encourages citizens to collect bottles, cans, plastic, and cartons instead of littering. 

For each container brought to collection points, one receives ecolones. In turn, they can use the ecolones for services, products, discounts, and participation in the companies that stand with the project. It will invite more people to learn about crypto exchange through their coin—likewise, the project’s funds help needy families. In time, the country aims to be carbon-neutral, maintaining ecological systems within. 

  • Agrocoin

The Agrocoin launch was back in 2017 by a Mexican firm, Amar Hidroponia. It is the first agro-based cryptocurrency in the world, supporting the growth of Havana chilies through hydroponics. 

One Agrocoin equates to 500 pesos, and anyone can acquire them. The project provides land, jobs, and pepper production for locals. Investors chip in to support the modern agricultural technology the firm uses.

Blockchain Adoption in Africa

Africa has inherently been through many problems post-colonial times. Since then, the continent has been in a constant struggle to get back on its feet, trying to settle into new leadership, economic, and technological milestones. 

Several countries in Africa have openly accepted blockchain and cryptocurrencies, while others have a hostile approach. South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Mauritius are a few that have regulations that legalize cryptocurrencies. Others like Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco have rendered digital currency transactions illegal. 

Many others like Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Senegal have cryptocurrency and blockchain endeavors, despite the lack of regulations governing them. Overall, the growth is palpable as citizens are looking for alternatives to avoid centralizing different sectors and policies about inflation. 

Through the years, blockchain conferences happen in major African cities where experts discuss the challenges, solutions, and potentials of blockchain and cryptocurrency in the continent. Some of the issues that limit blockchain and cryptocurrencies’ growth include corruption, civil wars, poverty, government business, and donor funding. 

However, there is a healthy increase in blockchain adoption, with many projects flooding the market and aiming to solve the continent’s problems. Below are some of the notable projects that are a perfect example of blockchain use cases in Africa.

  • Akon City

Akon City is a futuristic “crypto city” rising in Senegal initiated by the musician Akon. The city will trade using a digital currency, AKoin, to build the city’s economic backbone. In June 2020, the singer issued a $6 Billion contract to KE International to commence the first phase of the 2,000-acre project. 

It will create an environmental-friendly, economical, technological, and educational hub run using renewable energy options. Additionally, the singer has projects supplying millions of African families with solar energy. His dedication to persuading blockchain use in Africa’s development is commendable.

  • WorkStation

It is a blockchain startup based in Nigeria, focusing on providing entrepreneurs, startups, creators, and small businesses workplaces to conduct their innovations. The digital network provides continent-wide services encouraging new ideas and sharing of information by the community. 

The workspaces have around-the-clock technological services, resource directories, promotions for members, learning incentives, mentorship programs, employment opportunities, and social events. The project sees expanding Africa as a learning and business hub.

  • The Sun Exchange

The South African startup, launched in 2015, aims to provide clean solar energy across Africa. It seeks to join groups interested in investing in the same using bitcoin through a peer-to-peer platform. 

It leases solar panels to community amenity centers and homes. Investors earn from the panels rented. Though assets sold are limited, several projects are present for funding. It helps them achieve clean energy and rural electrification while giving investors a platform to earn income.

What, Then, is Blockchain’s Future in the Two Regions?

In conclusion, there is more to the two regions than meets the eye. Despite the constant problems that they face, innovation is a massive part of society. We can see this in the creative startups rising to fame while ensuring community-based incentives as their drivers. These efforts will see more people adopting blockchain technology while improving the state of the regions in general.

However, to achieve their full potential, support from local governments is necessary. Unity is also vital to ensure that people in the regions work hand in hand to instigate development and shun bad leadership options. We hope that we will see more from Latin America and Africa as far as blockchain is concerned in due time.

After realizing the setbacks of centralization in the financial industry, Carol has dedicated her career to apprise everyone on the benefits of blockchain technology. When she is not writing, she’s probably somewhere in the park reading a book.