As indicated by Google Trends, the biggest search interest for bitcoin is by potential investors from South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. However, that dominance is predominantly limited to a few trading activities on exchanges.
Despite that world-leading interest, African is still lagging behind the rest of the world in the bitcoin adoption. The digital currency has found it daunting to break the stranglehold of convenience, efficiency, simplicity that draws tens of millions of Africans to mobile money.
Vin Armani, founder and CTO of an internet-free wallet service Cointext, believes his service could rival mobile money in the continent.
Armani told in an interview –
“In Africa, Cointext is currently available only in South Africa, and it’s unclear how many people are actually using the service there. We are preparing to make a major announcement that will give us global coverage in every country.”
Another Cointext official explained –
“We are currently working on an integration that will make us available for smartphones throughout Africa. We are also working on SMS solutions for a few other African countries.”
Elisha Owusu Akyaw is a 17-year-old Ghanian cryptocurrency investor and influencer who has made a fortune investing in Bitcoin. He believes, “Cryptocurrencies should probably integrate with mobile banking platforms.”
Akyaw may have a point here. The mobile money sensation has overgrown in African economics to the extent of defining its people.
With that said, digital currencies will have to fight tooth and nail for gaining any reasonable market share in the mobile money-based payment systems in Africa. This 7-year-old service seems to be very auspicious that nearly every government department currently depends on it for electronic payments.
Cumbersome Registration Processes
Bernard Parah, a 26-year-old entrepreneur from Nigeria’s Lagos, recognizes this as both challenge and opportunity. Two years ago, Parah founded a platform, namely Bitnob Quickserve, that allows Africans to buy vouchers and redeem them for Bitcoins without the need to complete KYC procedures.
Parah, in an interview, told –
“We believe that the service will reduce the entry barrier for many people who want to try out bitcoins here in Africa. Onboarding users need to be made simpler. Many first time users give up at the point where they have to upload their personal identity details for verification.”
He continued –
“A Bitcoin address looks like a foreign language to new users. Many people are not ready to be their own banks, they would rather settle for convenience over security.”