Why Africa Is Becoming the Next Blockchain Technology Hub
Africa is the second-largest and second most populated continent globally, but isn’t at the forefront of investment for traditional ventures. However, in the wake of the blockchain technology and the cryptocurrency market, it is due for a significant change.
Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria are among the top ten countries with the highest Google search for ‘Cryptocurrency.’ Furthermore, African countries are laying the necessary foundations for the cryptocurrency industry to thrive.
Bitcoin advocate and twitter founder Jack Dorsey noted in 2019 that Africa would define the future in cryptocurrency and more so bitcoin. South Africa is taking the lead in this digital transformation, and perhaps, Dorsey was right.
Blockchain Technology in South Africa
Cryptocurrency relies on blockchain technology, and South Africa has made significant steps in incorporating the technology into its economy. It is one of the country’s strategies to reduce unemployment levels. According to a report released by Arcane Research, 13% of internet users in South Africa were either using or owned cryptocurrencies.
On April 3, 2020, The South African National Blockchain Alliance held its online launch successfully. The unveiling happened as a YouTube Livestream following the ongoing health crisis. During the launch, the panel of speakers elaborated on the Alliance’s plans, which included nurturing startups based on blockchain technology. The coalition will also be pushing the development of skills necessary for creating and exploring blockchain solutions.
Currently, there is no regulation for digital currency in South Africa. However, in 2014 the South African Reserve Bank released documents touching on the intent to increase trader acceptance. It further touched on integrating traditional payment methods with the decentralized digital currency.
It also highlighted boosting the benefits of virtual currency systems, which will translate into real growth in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Startups can now quickly raise capital through ICOs and trade in cryptocurrencies.
One of the major hindrances of the growth of cryptocurrency in Africa has been lack of know-how. These new implementations will raise user awareness in the continent. South Africa could be the next blockchain technology hotspot and not just for the SANBA.
The Blockchain Academy
The Blockchain Academy offers courses relating to blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
It is part of the programs of the South African National Blockchain Alliance. They offer Bitcoin and Blockchain Beginner Course. These courses are currently provided free of charge in conjunction with Paxful. The South African online community can learn the basics and open more markets for digital currencies and blockchain technology.
Other courses available at the academy include the Blockchain Executive Course, Blockchain Advanced Course, Trade and Arbitrage Effectively with XRP Course, Legal and Regulatory Aspects of Cryptocurrency, and the Blockchain Technology, Blockchain for Financial Institutions, Ethereum Developer Course, Cryptocurrency Asset Storage, and Inheritance Course, among others.
Blockchain-Based Passenger Manifest System in Nigeria
Nigeria is among the leading countries leading in Africa driving change using blockchain. The government is pursuing the institution of regulatory measures, and cooperation with the private sector.
In 2019, Nigeria announced its intent to leverage the benefits of blockchain technology, and has already made the first few steps. The country’s transport sector has integrated blockchain technology for better passenger information management. The country has had a legacy of disorganized bus parks.
The Passenger Manifest System seeks to replace the traditional paper manifest that transport operators used with an entirely digital system. The system is already operational, and covers over 6 million trips in a month.
The Blockchain Taskforce in Kenya
Kenya has been making progress in its efforts to promote blockchain technology adoption. In 2019, a blockchain task force in the country submitted a report asking the government to consider creating a national digital currency.
The country is already a milestone in the use of cryptocurrencies in foreign exchange trading, and has several supportive platforms. M-pesa is one of the major innovations making it possible for several countries in Africa to buy and sell cryptocurrency in foreign exchange trading. The central bank is said to be in favor of the technology, and is even drafting regulation to support Initial Coin Offerings.
African Exchange Platforms
TERRA, a blockchain project and trading platform based in Johannesburg, is also making significant contributions towards the opening of the African market. Its primary focus is cryptocurrency credit, although it has seven other projects, including Terra Hub, The Tellus Ecosystem, Terra Mart, Terra Wallet, Terra Dax, TerraceX, and MiniPOS.
Terra Hub is a social network that has monetized actions that have CREDIT as a reward. The Tellus Ecosystem allows unbanked persons to access a payment platform and a digital wallet. The ecosystem supports crypto and fiat currency, and the user can access credit as well. Terra Wallet is a web-based wallet through which users access the credit currency. Terra Mart is a free shopping place that allows vendors to sell goods online. Each vendor has a unique store in the form of a URL, and CREDIT is the only currency used to ensure zero fees.
TerraceX is an exchange platform that also provides CREDIT holders with a variety of exchange options. Terra Dax is a mobile trading app that helps users connect their exchanges through API in a single dashboard. MiniPOS is also a Terra Credit product and is a CREDIT staking wallet that boosts the user’s ability to earn via block production.
Terra Credit is the blockchain explorer that provides a solution to transparency problems of crediting decentralized currency. It serves as the decentralized public ledger for complete transparency of the credit blockchain.
ICE3X is a South African platform that pursues a commitment to offering clients the best opportunity to trade cryptocurrencies with fiat currency. It integrates different partners, including financial institutions, wallets, merchant services, custodial services, cryptocurrency exchange platform providers, scratch cards, and insurance to deliver an ecosystem around its platform.
The platform recently launched a South African utility token, Artificial Intelligence Coin, which will allow its holders to enjoy discounted trading fees and make decisions about the platform’s features, listings, and functioning.
Buyers on the platform can trade the AIC for BTC and vice versa. Traders who hold a thousand AIC coins or more will enjoy a 50% discount on trading fees. Furthermore, traders with a balance of 10,000 AIC coins will receive a 100% discount on the trading fees.
Golix is also a cryptocurrency exchange company based in Zimbabwe. The platform has made it possible for other African countries to invest and trade in cryptocurrencies. The platform has users in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Cameroon, Rwanda, and Uganda.
ImpalaPay and NuruCoin are also Kenyan blockchain companies that enable users to make digital payments.
TerraBit in African Countries
Terrabit is a web and mobile application that allows users a fast and secure cryptocurrency exchange, payment and mining. The application was developed to secure funds and make them readily available when needed. Users can pay for goods and services, and send or receive payment. The application was developed in South Africa, and is currently benefiting several other African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.
Blockchain Africa Conferences
South Africa holds regular events focused on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency growth. In the Blockchain Africa Conference held in Johannesburg this year, Binance CEO announced that it would introduce a fiat gateway for South African traders. The announcement means that South Africans can make Rand deposits via the Binance website and trade.
Furthermore, the Binance South Africa manager announced that the world’s largest trade volume cryptocurrency exchange was investing in blockchain technology education in South Africa. Binance promised to donate $1M towards the growth and development of blockchain education programs in the country.
In 2018, Uganda hosted the Africa blockchain conference that attracted 23 other countries. The main agenda of the conference was to address the readiness of Africa for the digital era. The Ugandan president noted how the blockchain technology eliminates opaqueness in business and brings in transparency. The government has been very supportive of the technology, and even intends to integrate it into its ministries. It intends to impose regulation and taxes, but also plans to provide incentives to encourage private investment in blockchain.
During the conference, Mauritius president said the Mauritian government was using the technology in building databases to support innovation in crop science.
Initial Coin Offerings in Africa
Despite China’s ban on Initial Coin Offerings, South Africa has successfully created opportunities for startups to grow. Several ICOs have been successful, although the number remains uncertain due to the lack of a repository. There were successful ICOs by Newtown Partners in 2017, with one raising $33Million to fund Civic.
Other African Countries including Kenya, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe have also had successful ICOs. Nigerian firm SureRemit launched an ICO in 2017 that saw it raise $7 million from investors pulled from more than 60 countries.
The Zimbabwean cryptocurrency exchange company, Golix launched its ICO and sold $8 million publicly, and $2 million privately.
Other African companies that launched ICOs include NuruCoin and ImpalaPay which are both based in Kenya.
Blockchain technology drives the cryptocurrency industry, therefore, its wide adoption and integration in Africa is a monumental step. African countries are now using the technology in healthcare, eTenders, safety and food tracing, digital identification, and eVoting.
The digitization of processes promises the adoption of digital currency in government services. It will be a significant breakthrough in cryptocurrency. Programs such as the South African National Blockchain Alliance and the Blockchain Academies are creating confidence in the African population about digital monies. More people are learning about blockchain and cryptocurrency, and have exchange platforms readily available for trading.
Besides, cryptocurrency offers the best deals, such as discounted transactions and easy accessibility, which promise higher adoption rates. Africa could, therefore, be about to turn the next frontier for digital currency.