Bitcoin is a form of virtual currency that is stored in a digital wallet on either your mobile device or computer.
The cryptocurrency was launched in 2009 and uses peer-to-peer networks to send and receive funds. Over the years bitcoin has offered an “anonymous” way to make and receive payments online, eliminating the need for intermediaries like banks or credit card companies that charge significant fees.
This convenience led to the rise in popularity of Bitcoin, peaking at over $20,000 per coin in 2017. Quite remarkable for a coin you would need many of just to buy a pizza a few years prior.
This popularity further fueled the emergence of uncountable other coins, the main ones being Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and Bitcoin cash.
4 Reasons why Africans are becoming interested in Bitcoin
It is Safe, Anonymous and secure
Bitcoin is a decentralized currency that is not owned by any institution or government. Through it, a user can make safe and secure transactions online without leaving personal details associated with other forms of payments.
This is particularly popular with Africans because of the limited banking penetration and credit/debit card availability. Bitcoin can be purchased using local payment systems like mobile money Mpesa in Kenya and Tanzania. There is also an increasing availability of physical Bitcoin ATM machines on the continent, making it convenient to purchase it in cash.
Africa also happens to be ignored by many online transaction companies, with the continent-based credit cards being regularly rejected. A good example of this is the Playstation store which doesn’t accept accounts or payments from most African countries.
Bitcoin presents an effective alternative in such instances, since individuals can trade vouchers with each other online easily.
When it comes to safety, Bitcoin is arguably a lot secure than your credit card money. There are literally millions of card details stolen every year and sold on the dark web. Getting a hold on Bitcoin however is a whole different story.
With a wallet like the Luno Bitcoin Wallet, it is impossible for a thief to remotely access your coins. The Luno wallet comes as a mobile app for both Android and iOS, and has robust recovery options even if you lost your phone.
Bitcoin has been termed as the “money of the future.” The promise of future businesses using bitcoin is a useful tool that will see the coin appreciate in value.
The last few decades have seen Africa graduate from being “the dark continent” into a multi-billion dollar hub for investors. Since many of the other currencies are constantly fluctuating, Bitcoin offers a safer investment for all businesses.
The understanding in the tech community is that the future prospects for crypto and Bitcoin in particular is up. There might be some periods of low prices, but almost everyone agrees that this is temporary. In fact, some projections have put the future price of bitcoin at $1 million.
This promise of increasing value has led many Africans to buying the coin as a form of investment.
Bitcoin offers a safe method to conduct business in Africa and the world in general. As much as irreversible transactions may send chills down your spine, it is a big positive in the African context. Credit cards and other forms of payments are eligible for “chargebacks,” meaning that an individual with the intent to defraud can reverse a transaction after goods and services are delivered.
This is a scary situation to be in for any businessperson, hence the rush to use bitcoin.
Cheap, instant and quick Transactions
This goes back to the basics as to why Bitcoin was created in the first place. Traditionally, online transactions were handled by banks or credit card companies. They charge a percentage on every transaction, with many of them also having annual fees. On top of that, many big transactions have wait times of hours or even days.
Bitcoin changed this completely.
Not only are the fees almost non-existent, the transactions are instant.