We questioned our Chief Global Media Officer, Tim Curry on the prominence of Blockchain and Crypto in Africa, as well as the new media company, New Africa Radio.
How Popular is Blockchain, Bitcoin, and Crypto in Africa?
Bitcoin, at some points over the past few years, has been the most popular in Africa. The highest search results for Bitcoin in the last couple of years has been from Ghana, you can see that analytics from Alexa.com.
Digital currency as a whole is very popular in Africa; there is no barrier to entry in Africa because empasa and mobile payments is ubiquitous, and Bitcoin is not much different from it at all.
Is Africa the archetype of how Bitcoin is meant to be used – as a digital currency versus a speculative investment?
Correct, unfortunately, what some of us thought was the purpose of Bitcoin (which actually may or may not be the true purpose of Bitcoin) is to be a peer-to-peer cash system. I do think it will get back there but for a while, because it’s a living and growing organism with constant development from miners, users, investors, and now from the stock market and things like that, Bitcoin has its limitations. With 3-7 transactions per second, during the last bull run for instance, it increased the mining fees so significantly that it could not be a usable currency. So there are some cryptos such as Dash, which have made great strides in Africa. Dash’s model allocates a certain percentage of coins that are mined directly into its marketing. They’ve done a good job permeating into Africa. With that said, Bitcoin is still very popular in Africa, but its day-to-day use would be dependant on how the transaction fees react as well.
Globally, Bitcoin and other cryptos that are being used for investments inhibit it from being used as a form of digital currency?
Specifically Bitcoin, yes. The two that have done a great job getting out there and keeping transactions low are Dash and Bitcoin Cash. I have mixed feelings about Bitcoin Cash, but as far as what they’re doing community-wise with their bounties, or “spreading the gospel” of this revolution, they’ve done a great job. So I would say the strongest cryptos would be Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Dash, then Ethereum (and others..).
The guys we were working with through dream bitcoin foundation in Afri Ghana, these guys are in their late teens, early twenties would roll down the streets and they’d be sporting their Airbitz, or Bitcoin t-shirts and paraphernalia – most of it homemade. And everyone would refer to them as the “Bitcoin Boys” – no one really understood it around there, but they knew who they were. Similar things have been happening through liberty movements in Tamale Ghana as well as Comassi, so the three major cities in Africa have a growing Bitcoin community. What we always envisioned is that when we look at Africa, we see it as 1/7th of the world. But we saw this as our friends in Bitcoin in Kenya, Dar Salaam Tanzania, parts of Uganda and Nigeria, in Freetown Sarah Leon, in Ghana, and Gabron Botswana and in Zimbabwe, as being like these cells that would grow and merge, making the community. That’s how we always envisioned our missions and initiative would be there.