Africa’s cryptocurrency industry has continued to grow as more people wake up to the massive opportunity that Bitcoin offers.
This rise has been catalyzed by several factors including inefficient legacy financial systems and robust mobile money infrastructure. However, it has also been made possible with the efforts of some crypto companies that have endeavored to drive adoption in Africa. Luno is one of the key players, making it easy, convenient and affordable to buy, store and trade cryptos.
The African region has the fastest growing economy, with Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal and Rwanda leading this charge. However, the region’s financial systems have failed to keep up. This has led many to turn to cryptos as they seek a more equitable system that caters to their needs.
Marius Reitz, the general manager for Africa at Luno, explained: “Africans are demanding a better and more fair financial system because the current system does not serve them too well. In many countries, traditional ways of exchanging value are very expensive and can be highly inefficient. As a result, doing business can be unnecessarily difficult and out of reach for many.”
He continued, “Africans using traditional currencies are often faced with high transaction costs, inflation and currency devaluation, exorbitant interest rates and high levels of fraud. Coupled with all this, accessing the existing system (despite the fact that many have a mobile phone and conduct other elements of their lives online) is still incredibly restrictive.”
In an interview with CoinGeek.com, Reitz pointed to this need for more efficient systems as the key reason crypto use has shot through the roof in Africa. This spike has been evidenced by the rise in number of crypto users, with Luno being one of the beneficiaries of this rise. The company surpassed 3 million wallets in 2019, processing $5 million per day in trades.
And while it’s the countries with the least advanced financial systems that would be expected to be leading the charge, the narrative has been a little different, Reitz told us. Countries like South Africa, which has Africa’s most efficient financial system; Kenya, a global icon of mobile banking; and Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, have led the crypto revolution. People in these countries have taken advantage of the more advanced banking infrastructure to access cryptocurrencies.
For Luno, it hasn’t been just about the profits. The company has endeavored to educate Africans about crypto, liberating them from the shackles of financial marginalization. The company’s aim is to enlighten more people about the opportunities offered by cryptos. In Africa, this is especially crucial as there’s a perception problem with cryptos, Reitz tells us. As CoinGeek has reported in the past, a lot of crypto scams have targeted the continent, taking advantage of the insufficient knowledge of cryptos.
Reitz remarked, “We hold regular meetups that provide a platform for existing cryptocurrency traders, buyers and prospective users to learn and share ideas around the evolving trends in the market. We also host university tours where we aim to build understanding about cryptocurrencies among students. As early pioneers in this industry, we feel it’s our duty to share our knowledge and excitement with the world as best we can. It’s about ensuring this happens across the board for consumers, the media and broader stakeholders.”
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For the growth of the industry, Reitz believes that crypto companies must work with the regulators, and not against. “We believe regulation will bring greater clarity, protection and trust which will help cryptocurrencies transition to mainstream use,” he concluded.
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