The Technext round table on Crypto and Africa: Tensions, gains and the future hosted physical speakers like Chris Ani, CEO and Founder of Daba, Buchi Okoro, Founder and CEO of Quidax, Senator Ihenyan, President of Stakeholders in Blockchain Association of Nigeria (SIBAN), Ruth Isalema, CEO of Bitmama and Chinedu Obidiegwu, product manager at Luno.
Additionally, physical panelists were joined online by Osamede, Arhunmwunde, CEO of GIGX and Sandi Bitec, CEO of 3air.
The panel discussed issues related to the integration of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency trading in a developing continent like Africa. They also considered the gains, victories, and freedom that come with financial inclusion.
The panelists, after weighing both sides of the discussion, offered a way forward for the continent.
One of the highlights of the conversation was that crypto has the power as a tool to reduce the limits of finance. According to Chris, it is a tool for financial freedom in Africa.
Read also: #TNC2022: “DeFi will solve the problem of financial inclusion in Africa” - Obi Emetarom
The Constraints of Crypto Adoption in Africa
According to Blockchain analytics platform, Chainalysis in its Global Crypto Adoption Index for 2022, no African country is in the top ten for crypto adoption globally.
The two leading African countries, Nigeria and Kenya which ranked 5th and 6th respectively in the last report, have been significantly relegated from the list. Nigeria fell to 11th position while Kenya is now at number 19.
Morocco joined the top 20 with a surprising overtake of Kenya in 14th position.
Related story: Kenya and Nigeria Drop Top 10 Countries in Global Crypto Adoption Index in 2022
According to the report, the main reason for the decline was due to the fact that Africa, especially Nigeria and Kenya, had no institutional players or loosely centralized exchanges. Most space actors in Africa are individuals who have transacted for personal gain.
A major challenge facing the space in Africa, according to the speakers, was rigid regulation or the inability of regulation to catch up with Blockchain technology and its importance in solving economic difficulties.
The ban on cryptocurrencies in Nigeria in 2021 was one of the references cited by the senator, who mentioned that central players in the financial system have yet to fully embrace and adapt to its use.
Regulators are not yet really compatible with cryptos. For example, we have the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) which has proposed new rules that regulate the crypto market, but we have yet to see the Central Bank of Nigeria come up with a comprehensive framework. This is how central players welcome cryptos to the rest of the world.
– Senator Ihenyen
One of the major limitations of crypto in Africa is the lack of investment in infrastructure that enhances its adoption, as well as creating the right policy framework for its rise to the next stage of institutionalized commerce.
Recently, a study by Utility Bidder showed that five of the top ten fintech organizations for 2022 are crypto companies. These companies are unsurprisingly located in countries outside of Africa.
Read also: Crypto companies dominate the list of the world’s 10 most influential fintech companies in 2022
The question then becomes: what is Africa doing to ensure that it catches up with the rest of the world at a time when it dominates the financial sector globally? Will Africa fully understand its importance and fully utilize the gains that come with its adoption?
This only shows the possibility of Africa rising to solve its economic challenges through blockchain technology and cryptography.
If you would like to be featured in our Entrepreneur Spotlight, click here to share your startup story with us.