Growing up in Nigeria, I see Bitcoin with a different lens than you would if you grew up in the US for example. For me, discovering Bitcoin has been life-changing and revolutionary and my default reaction every time someone asks me about Bitcoin is “Thank God for Bitcoin”
What are the challenges of financial markets in Africa?
The challenges of financial markets in Africa are:
1. Limitation on financial freedom
Imagine you work hard, earn some money but have to face the following:
You can’t spend more than $100 on international sites using your card – You can’t spend your own money, you can’t buy that Playstation 5 if you wanted to because of fiscal regulatory controls.
According to Uma Shashikant from Economic Times, “Financial freedom means having money to use as one wishes.” Read more
Bitcoin fixes this by removing the spending limits and giving you access to your wealth all round the clock.
2. No single solution to carry out international financial transactions
Imagine you got lucky to go abroad, find some work and want to send money home to mom but have to pay ridiculous fees to do that. If it’s an emergency, those funds might not get there on time.
Bitcoin fixes this. Employers can pay their international staff immediately unlike other solutions that take days and even weeks. Bitcoin enables immediate financial transactions.
3. High rate of inflation
You try to save some of that money but food prices keep increasing, your currency loses >25% of its value against the US dollar in a year.
> 16% inflation
> 20% food inflation you don’t want to deal with these monsters
You work harder, but only get poorer.
Bitcoin fixes this by saving your wealth in a more stable currency using their tether and other stablecoins.
What is the Social impact of Bitcoin in Africa?
Here are the lists socio impact of Bitcoin on the average African.
Bitcoin has contributed to solving lots of socio-economic problems globally. Below are the case scenarios of how bitcoin is solving these issues:
1. Fosters international trading
Africa is the youngest continent has faced quite many limitations that impede economic growth. Digital nomads can’t hire and work with talents from Africa because of no easy means of transacting. For example, you do not have a Paypal account to get paid by clients around the world after freelancing or doing remote gigs.
Bitcoin fixes this challenge by ensuring financial inclusion by providing an eminent means of currency engagement.
2. Promotes human rights
Governments across various countries disregard the rights of citizens and this is eminent in Africa. For example, in Nigeria, the right to freedom of expression was disregarded during the EndSARs protest by having their bank accounts blocked because they took part in or donated to a protest.
The plain truth is once an activity can’t be funded, it dies. This is one of the core reasons for the failure of the protest and shutting the mouth of millions of youths.
As our founder Bernard Parah said, If they own the money, they own you.
Bitcoin fixes this by providing unparalleled access to your fund. This allows you to venture on a cause, protect your right, demand justice.
Promote entrepreneurship and employment
According to Stears Business, the rate of unemployment will increase by 5% by 2025. This means a total of 160 million youths will be unemployed in Africa. Bitcoin is creating more and more decent jobs. In 2016, there were over 4, 000+ jobs and this is expected to have increased by 10 as more companies have adopted bitcoin and blockchain. This means if well harvested, bitcoin will be one of the major industries creating decent jobs across Africa and beyond.
Having to pay charges just for keeping your money in the bank
Bitcoin doesn’t charge account maintenance fees. Bitcoin fixes this
Bitcoin as a solution to inflation and in currencies
As if things are not hard enough, we are facing more currency devaluation by the day. It’s painful to see in real-time that your currency is going to shit and you can’t seem to do much about it – only that now we can because we have Bitcoin
Bitcoin as a driver of financial inclusion
Bitcoin allows us to build a future where one might never need to open a bank account to participate in commerce with anyone around the world. The internet has changed our lives, mostly for the better. Now we have money that works on the internet. This allows us to be global citizens from day 1 and provide us with the ability to trade with the world, to enjoy the prosperity being shared on the internet. While you see magic internet money, what we see is a shot at freedom, a shot at prosperity and we don’t plan to stop going for this
Gladstein’s article to understand why Bitcoin from an American perspective is just one way of seeing things. But boy the world is way bigger than the US.
Bitcoin affect society in so many ways and below are some exciting Bitcoin project and how they are changing the society for good.
School to facilitate education
Playful, a cryptocurrency company is contributing to ensuring quality education in various countries in Africa. They are building schools, ensuring contributing to clean water with various NGOs and helping the needy. Plugging in the fantastic work Payful is doing with builtwithbitcoin.org by building schools fully funded with Bitcoin
Elevation of poverty
Bitnob, a cryptocurrency company launches her Bitnobles series that tends to educate Nigerians and Ghanians about financial education, investment and how they can grow their wealth using dollar cost averaging. They have impeded saving culture in over 8, 000+ individuals across Africa through their Bitnob app
Restoring the ecosystem
Ramaphosa started to ideate StudEx, a digital version of his family farm within the cryptographic space. This quickly grew to a movement to protect and conserve rare wildlife through impact-focused capital.
In partnership with IBM and Cardano, StudEx uses IoT to discourage illegal poaching through tracking the location of the animal, their heart rate, and other significant activity, all on-chain. The goal is to use more technology and less human contact, to allow the animals to roam naturally.