The cryptocurrency crash following the coronavirus has been severe and affecting every continent across the globe including Africa. From blockchain communities to crypto events, the space is vibrant with activities and opportunities right now.
According to this article on Africa Renewal, Africans are well-positioned to adopt cryptocurrencies thanks to the rising number of mobile phone ownership and internet usage. For instance, from 2000 to 2019, internet growth in Africa climbed by 11,481%, and fortunately most African's are using Bitcoin, not just HODL'ing to make money on speculation.
So, how is the crypto space in Africa look as the world changes due to Coronavirus?
South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana have one of the highest number cryptocurrency ownership rates in the world as reported on Hootsuite’s 2019 digital report. In South Africa, 10.7% of internet users have reported owning cryptocurrencies. In Nigeria and Ghana, crypto ownership stands at 7.8% and 7.3% respectively. These percentages are higher than the 5.5% global average of adults that own cryptocurrencies.
Other African countries with high cryptocurrency ownership percentages include Egypt, Kenya, and Morocco at 3.6 percent, 2.6 percent, and 1.7 percent in that order.
With a mobile phone and an internet connection, anyone can buy cryptocurrencies and store them on a mobile wallet. Since more people in Africa are buying phones and using the internet, cryptocurrency ownership could increase in the years to come. Moreover, most countries on the continent have access to crypto exchanges, enabling Africans to buy cryptocurrencies with ease.
Examples of crypto exchanges in the African market include Luno, Paxful, Belfrics, Localbitcoins, Localcryptos, Coindirect, and Remitano.
We expect that as the rest of the world economy slows down, Africa may have an opportunity to get ahead. The coronavirus appears to affect warmer regions less than cooler and most dense cities have gone into quarantine. During this time of uncertainty people are turning to cryptocurrency more and more, and Africans stand to benefit from this additional volatility.
Crypto Trading Growing As More People Quarantined
The availability of crypto exchanges and peer-to-peer platforms has enabled Africa to join the world economy in a major way. This opportunity has created jobs for people that understand the crypto market and are willing to invest in digital currencies. For example, you can find crypto traders on platforms like Localbitcoins, Redeeem, and Paxful. These platforms support local payment methods allowing both sellers and buyers to have a smooth experience and build trust.
As the international economic situation gets questionable for countries, cryptocurrency starts to look better in the eyes of its citizens. People are staying home across the globe, and spending more time learning about better ways they can earn and store their wealth, and of course crypto is a popular topic.
It's ironic but true that when the world economy and some of our strongest countries start to wane, that's exactly when cryptocurrency will shine. Because unlike any FIAT currency, bitcoin is independent and decentralized, eliminating the risk of systemic corruption and inflation. This is so important for many people.
Africans Are Participating In The Global Economy
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have opened up a new job market for Africans due to the coronavirus economic impacts. With unemployment rates still high on the continent, the crypto job market is a low hanging opportunity that is growing fast in the international economy.
Blockchain and crypto companies that have opened offices in African countries that require staff to operate. Africans working as office administrators, accountants, marketing personnel, blockchain developers, and customer service agents provide entry level jobs.
Furthermore, other Africans are taking free online classes and learning during this time, and the trend of African freelancers in the crypto space is growing. For instance, African freelancers are writing for crypto media sites, managing social media accounts for blockchain projects, creating tokens for token offerings, researching for crypto companies, writing whitepapers, developing apps, building blockchains, and marketing new crypto products.
To look for freelance crypto jobs, most Africans are using platforms like Indeed, Upwork, and freelancer.com. On the other hand, you can find permanent or contract crypto jobs on LinkedIn, Crypto Jobs, and Cryptocurrency Jobs.
The crypto job market provides four advantages: working remotely, traveling to different parts of the world, making money in foreign currencies like USD, and earning part or all of your income in cryptocurrencies.
In short coronavirus's impact on the global economy could be a great thing for Africa's growing crypto community.
Why Africa Is Better Prepared Than Other Regions
The Coronavirus has affected organizations and communities across the continent, but still far less than Europe, Asia, and the America's. Mobile communication is playing a key role in increasing awareness on the continent. Blockchain and crypto communities are also bringing people together on social media platforms like Telegram, Facebook, and WhatsApp that spread messages faster than news outlets.
We can't underestimate the reality that the coronavirus (luckily) doesn't affect people in warmer climates as severely. African's are also benefiting from having had experience with Ebola epidemic, and they were fast to move when the Coronavirus pandemic broke out.
Crypto Regulation Is Changing Due To The Virus
Like in many other parts of the world, regulators in Africa have barely entered the crypto space, and due to the virus, government agencies are preoccupied. However, even now several central banks have warned citizens against investing in volatile cryptocurrencies while the Ugandan and Kenyan governments have created blockchain task forces.
Additionally, central banks in Egypt, South Africa, and Kenya are looking into central bank-issued digital currencies. South Africa’s Reserve Bank was set to conduct a CBDC feasibility study in 2019 and the South African Revenue Service is taxing crypto traders.
Ergo, little is taking place in Africa with regards to crypto regulation during the time of Coronavirus. This is because regulators are applying a wait-and-see approach according to a 2018 Ecobank report.
Many people believe that Africa could benefit from cryptocurrency growth during this time. From improving the remittances sector to reducing the unbanked population, cryptocurrencies could benefit Africa in many ways.
Examples of organizations in the African crypto space include the Blockchain Association of Africa, United Africa Blockchain Alliance, Blockchain Association of Kenya, Blockchain Association of Uganda, Blockchain Nigeria, Blockchain Society Ghana, Blockchain African Ladies, Botswana Blockchain Association, and Blockchain Association of Rwanda.
Fortunately, African countries are taking the necessary steps to build the right foundation for proper crypto adoption. What’s more, crypto companies are tapping into this potential by entering the African market. In turn, this market is becoming more vibrant and attracting more investors.