A significant amount of recent data is beginning to suggest that Africa may well lead the way in global Bitcoin adoption. Presently, the Bitcoin price is stagnating around the $7,200 mark, and has been for some time. However, this has not deterred interest in regions such as Africa, for various reasons.
Google searches for the keywords ‘Bitcoin’ and ‘Blockchain’ are on the rise in South Africa and Nigeria. Nigeria has been one of the biggest blockchain hubs on the continent, although it has also experienced its fair share of hacks and scams. Since 2017, both countries have taken the top spots for these keywords.
Nigeria also has a huge inflation rate of 11%, and Bitcoin adoption could help to offset this issue. Information from Coin Dance shows that a large amount of Bitcoin is being traded in Nigeria. At this stage, it is hard to see whether it is being done for the purposes of speculation or used as a form of cash.
Obviously, it would be best if it was actually being used as a form of cash. Aside from sheer trade volume, there are a number of blockchain-based ICO projects that have taken place in Nigeria and South Africa. One project is a blockchain-based land registry system.
East Asian countries including Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore have demonstrated considerable interest. Bitcoin interest has spiked in Venezuela, due to serious hyperinflation issues. In Turkey, trade volume reached an all-time high after a period of social upheaval. The Bitcoin price could further be boosted with a Bitcoin ETF or with regulatory acceptance in the USA.
In South Africa and Nigeria, access to banking facilities is limited, so it makes sense for this country to show increased interest in the technology. Over 118 million people in Nigeria alone do not have bank accounts. There are many other projects aside from Bitcoin that have the sole aim of ‘banking the unbanked’, most notably Stellar Lumens. Using blockchain can circumvent this huge problem for third-world countries.
With blockchain bank accounts, none of these silly identifiers would be needed. These people could get access to finance even if they have just a smartphone. What’s more, people could give them small amounts of money to sponsor third-world inhabitants at the touch of a button. These transfers could be done instantaneously, for free.
Blockchain technology and a wider acceptance of Bitcoin could have many positive aspects for African countries and for all economically deprived regions. It will make many more legislative procedures easier to comply with and speed up business processes in a large way. It could result in higher democratic freedom and a more transparent voting system if implemented on a wider scale.