Bitcoin adoption implies that it will be accepted as sound money all over the world. A truly decentralized asset that can be used to securely transfer and store value. Africa is lagging behind in terms of achieving this goal due to a lack of regulation, a lack of trust, major regulatory bodies banning digital currencies, and a lack of cryptocurrency education.
In Africa, there is no established framework for cryptocurrency education. However, a few key players have been observed to have a significant impact in raising Bitcoin awareness and understanding. This includes everything from foundations to cryptocurrency exchanges, individuals, and private companies.
Africans primarily use social media sites such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram to learn about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. They also obtain information from books, blog articles, and exchange resources provided by industry leaders such as Binance, Paxful, Luno, and Coinbase. The majority of African media companies do not promote Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies for fear of repercussions from their regulators, as well as bans and embargoes imposed by central banks.
Looking at a longer term view, some organizations are building schools while others are developing learning materials for schools. One notable leader in this is Yusuf Nessary, co-founder and director of Built With Bitcoin Foundation. He has built schools in Kenya, Rwanda, and Nigeria in partnership with Paxful and other players.
SHAmory, a company that creates Bitcoin-themed fun games and books, is also a major player in Africa. The SHAmory family believes that there are no barriers for anyone in the world to use the Bitcoin network, and their mission is to bridge the generation gap. Their products are designed to teach children of all ages about Bitcoin and its features in a fun and engaging manner.
According to Gemini’s 2022 Global State of Crypto report, education is the most significant global barrier to crypto ownership. According to the study, 40% of African respondents had not purchased any cryptocurrency because they did not understand how to buy and hold. Other barriers to Bitcoin adoption included a lack of trust and apprehension about Bitcoin price volatility.
The lack of education is making Africa a ripe target for crypto scammers from all around the world. These crypto scams range from ponzi schemes promising to give lucrative returns to DeFi projects promising to deliver above-market returns on staked tokens and yield farming. This is eroding the element of trust which is required for wider adoption.
For example, in 2021, the founders of Africrypt, a defunct crypto investing platform, stole over $ 3.6 billion in Bitcoin in South Africa. Because cryptocurrencies are not recognized as financial assets in South Africa, the regulatory authority has no grounds to prosecute. This is one of several cryptocurrency scams that have occurred in Africa in the last two years. This raises concerns about the security of cryptocurrency projects in Africa, raising the bar for wider adoption.
Binance and other players have been organizing educational programs to help Africans understand crypto, protect their crypto, and avoid crypto scams in order to slow the spread of crypto scams in Africa. Binance sponsored a 400-person program in Nigeria this year to educate students from the Federal University of Technology Minna. Binance claims that it has educated over 541,000 Africans about cryptocurrency.
The most significant impediment to Bitcoin adoption in many parts of Northern Africa is the existence of strict regulations prohibiting the use of cryptocurrencies, while others prohibit banks from dealing with crypto firms. According to a 2021 study by the Law Library of Congress, all use of private cryptocurrencies is prohibited in Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria.
Satoshicentre, one of Africa’s oldest Bitcoin companies, began crypto education in Botswana in 2014. Satoshicentre hasn’t scaled much because the Botswana government hasn’t implemented digital currency regulation, so it’s forced to accelerate crypto adoption through peer-to-peer transactions. With the current legal framework, obtaining a license for a crypto exchange in Botswana is difficult.
Satoshicentre collaborated with Paxful last year to create a hub for blockchain startup acceleration and innovation. The collaboration aims to educate Motswana about blockchain, support their blockchain startups, and connect them with investors to help them scale.
To truly scale Bitcoin adoption in Africa, the crypto community’s leaders must find a way to educate politicians and other policymakers about Bitcoin and its features. As a result, they will no longer be afraid of Bitcoin and will embrace its ability to facilitate the transfer, storage, and protection of value. When these policymakers understand and embrace Bitcoin, the chances of passing Bitcoin-friendly legislation and regulations increase.
Furthermore, Bitcoin plebs in Africa must accelerate blockchain education in order to help people understand crypto and secure their coins. This will slow the spread and impact of cryptocurrency scams while also restoring trust in blockchain projects. It will also speed up crypto adoption because most blockchain education programs end up orange-pilling their students.
Disclosure: I own bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.