5 Ways Africans Are Using Bitcoin

The borderless nature of Bitcoin allows anyone in the world to use it no matter where they are based. In Africa, Bitcoin has become increasingly accessible, which has resulted in an increase in adoption over the last few years.

1. Investing

Investing is arguably the number one use case for bitcoin at this point. That is the case globally as well as in Africa. While Bitcoin was initially launched as a decentralised digital payment system, it has evolved into a popular investment asset akin to gold. Hence, the name “digital gold.” Today, Africans are buying bitcoin on international peer-to-peer trading platforms or local exchanges in the hope that the “digital gold” will increase in value and surpass its previous all-time of $20,000 per coin.

2. Online payments

It is possible to pay for goods and services online using bitcoin. There are several international bitcoin startups, like BitRefill, that enable Africans to buy airtime using BTC or gift cards for several major online retailers. There are also local retailers in Africa that enable individuals to spend their bitcoin. Online retailer Newegg, for example, enables African shoppers to pay in BTC for purchases after expanding bitcoin acceptance to Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya last year. Even some brick-and-mortar retailers have started accepting the digital currency. For example, a restaurant in Kenya called Betty’s Place accepts payments in bitcoin.

3. Remittances

The cost of sending remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa is higher than any other region in the globe. According to a World Bank report, remittance fees across Africa remain above 10%. Therefore, tech-savvy individuals in countries like Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa have taken to receiving remittances using bitcoin. Where there is enough local exchange liquidity to turn BTC into local currency, a money transfer using bitcoin will be a lot cheaper than using traditional money transfer operators. There is also a B2B forex payments company, called BitPesa, which leverages the Bitcoin blockchain to send cross-border remittances for businesses.

4. Online gambling

Gambling in Africa is one of the largest and most profitable markets in the world. Especially the youths in Sub-Saharan Africa are fond of gambling. A Geopoll survey reported that 3% of the youth in Sub-Saharan Africa spend part of their income on gambling. Moreover, gambling companies are also taking advantage of the growing smartphone ownership in Sub-Saharan Africa to introduce online gambling. Bitcoin gambling has become popular as users look for a low-cost, zero-tax, somewhat anonymous gambling option. Online casinos are increasingly started to accept bitcoin as a payment method, and many are targeting countries like South Africa and Kenya, where betting has become very popular.

5. Donations

Bitcoin is also used to make positive changes in the world through donations. Charities and NGOs in Africa are accepting bitcoin donations to widen the donor pool. An example would be the BitGive, which has partners with the Water Project in Kenya, where it is helping to increase clean water accessibility in rural areas.

Other bitcoin donation initiatives in Africa are conducted by organisations such as Binance Charity, Legs4Africa, UNICEF, and GiveDirectly. As bitcoin’s development continues to improve over the years, the ways in which Africans use it could also increase. Moreover, the need for financial inclusion on the continent could see Africans use bitcoin on a day-to-day basis in the future.

Based on nichemarket.co.za


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