“In Africa, crypto adoption is a tool for economic freedom” – Panellists at #TNC2022

Godfrey Elimian
…we are yet to see the Central Bank of Nigeria come up with a framework that regulates the crypto space
Crypto x Africa – #TNC2022

The Technext panel session on Crypto and Africa: the strains, the 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.

Also, the physical panellists were joined online by Osamede, Arhunmwunde, CEO of GIGX and Sandi Bitec, CEO of 3air.

The panel discussed the problems associated with integrating blockchain technology and trading cryptocurrencies in a developing continent like Africa. They also considered the sweet gains, victories, and liberty that come with financial inclusion.

Chris Ani, one of the speakers on the Crypto x Africa session
Chris Ani, CEO and founder of Daba

The panellists, after weighing both sides of the discussion proffered a way forward for the continent.

A major highlight of the conversation was that crypto has the power as a tool, to reduce the limitations in 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 strains of crypto adoption in Africa

According to Blockchain analytics platform, Chainalysis in its Global Crypto Adoption Index for 2022, no African country makes the top ten of crypto adoption globally.

Africa’s two leading countries, Nigeria and Kenya which ranked 5th and 6th respectively in the last report, have significantly been relegated from the list. Nigeria dropped to 11th position while Kenya now is at number 19.

Morocco has joined the top 20 with a surprising overtake of Kenya to the 14th position. 

Related story: Kenya, Nigeria drop out of top 10 countries on 2022 global crypto adoption index

According to the report, the major reason for the drop was due to the fact that Africa, in particular Nigeria and Kenya, had no institutional players or low centralised exchanges. Most of the players in the space in Africa are individuals who transacted for their personal gains.

A major challenge confronting the space in Africa, according to the speakers, was the stiff regulation or the inability of regulation to catch up with Blockchain technology and its importance in solving economic difficulties.

Crypto x Africa
Senator Ihenyen, Presiden of Siban

The prohibition of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria in 2021, was one of the references cited by Senator, who mentioned that the central players in the financial system are yet to fully adopt and accommodate its usage.

The regulators are not really accommodating cryptos yet. For instance, we have the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) come up with new rules which regulate the crypto market, but we are yet to see the Central Bank of Nigeria fully come up with a framework. This is the way the Central players accommodate cryptos in the rest of the world.

– Senator Ihenyen

One of the major limitations of crypto in Africa is the lack of investment into the infrastructure with enhances its adoption, just like creating the right policy framework for its ascension to the next stage of institutionalised trading.

Recently, a study by Utility Bidder showed that five out of the top ten most prominent Fintech organisations for 2022 are crypto companies. These companies are unsurprisingly located in countries outside Africa.

Read also: Crypto companies dominate list of global top 10 influential fintech companies in 2022

Panel session on Crypto x Africa
Panel session on Crypto x Africa

The question then becomes, what is Africa doing to ensure it catches up with the rest of the world at a time when it is dominating the financial sector globally? Will Africa fully come to an understanding of its importance and fully utilize the gains that come with backing its adoption?

This only shows the possibility of Africa rising up to solve its economic challenges through blockchain technology and crypto.

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