Once upon a time, we exchanged goods for goods; then made use of cowries, coins and later on paper money for transactions. However, on October 31, 2008, the “cryptocurrency” era begun, following the invention of the digital currency – Bitcoin by an anonymous individual(s) under the false name of Satoshi Nakamoto.
Since then, thousands of other alternative coins have been introduced. As at April 5, 2020, cryptocurrency had a total market capitalisation (i.e. total dollar market value of cryptocurrency company shares) of about US$205 billion. Globally, cryptocurrency market value is reported to exceed 7 billion EUR.
While several governments have adopted cryptocurrency, some have not -- mostly due to the lack of regulation for Bitcoin and its implications for financial crime. A survey shows that the region of Latin America has the most cryptocurrency users, but Turkey, Brazil and Columbia tops the chart in terms of countries with the most cryptocurrency users. Africa as a continent is not left out in the adoption of cryptocurrency.
So, to what extent has cryptocurrency been embraced in Africa?
The acceptance of cryptocurrency is mixed in Africa; while some have either been receptive or indifferent to cryptocurrency, others have outrightly banned it.
Source: Baker McKenzie
In Nigeria, the CBN notes that cryptocurrencies are not legal tenders. In spite of this, Nigeria reportedly has the world’s 3rd largest bitcoin holdings as a percentage of GDP, according to Baker Mckenzie. It is reported that the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in Nigeria is willing to operate with cryptocurrency if the government issues related legislation. Interestingly, Nigeria is the 8th African Nation to own a Bitcoin ATM, having a terminal in Lagos State.
With the growing popularity of cryptocurrency in many countries, digital currencies could become the future of money. Hence, it would be wise for African governments to partake in this evolution by creating a regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies.
Article Credit: Ndianabasi Ime Tom