Since the inception of blockchain technology, there has been blockchain use cases in Africa and also, a lot of events in the blockchain. Visit blockchainafrica for recent events in blockchain happening all over Africa.
Africa is the leader in mobile banking due to its infrastructure. Digital assets and blockchain are very welcome and useful in that respect in the region. The fact remains that African countries have the highest percentage of foreign currency holders in the world, and the money is not held in bank accounts, but in mobile accounts (over 12% of the continent’s population). African people demonstrate a willingness to actively invest their hard-earned money in digital and crypto-currencies.
BLOCKCHAIN PROJECTS GOING ON IN AFRICA
Aximetria, for example, is one of the blockchain projects that has a large percentage of African users for its mobile banking service. Nowadays, banks have become a rudimentary aspect of life. Especially, if you are a working professional. Even if you are a graduating student, your bank still plays a prominent role in helping you sift through the majority of your financial requirements. However, in Africa, the infrastructure and political situation prevents most people from owning FIAT currency or owning a bank account. Therefore, most people remain unbanked or underbanked. It's not only in Africa.
China is home to the world’s largest unbanked population (225 million), followed by India (190 million), Pakistan (100 million), and Indonesia (95 million). These nations along with Nigeria, Mexico, and Bangladesh constitute nearly 50% of the world’s unbanked population. Even the United States has 8.4 million unbanked adults, meaning that no one in the household has a checking or savings account, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) .
The FDIC further states that an additional 24.2 million U.S. households are underbanked, meaning that the household has an account at an insured institution but also receives financial products or services like money orders, check to cash, international remittances and others -- outside of the banking system. These numbers are staggering.
But why? Why have people remained unbanked in these economies?
Key reasons include:
1. Lack of adequate financial liquidity;
2. Don’t feel the need for a bank account, as it is an expensive premise;
3. Scarcity of appropriate documentation to open an account;
By now, you must have realized that the situation is not easy to fix. Financial instability is an undeniable feature of all these emerging and frontier market economies. That, in turn, extends to the official currencies of these nations, and are also subject to the whims and fancies of the government in power. Banking landscape in African countries like Nigeria and Angola, for example, stumbles on many additional challenges, from the lack of infrastructure and poor road networks to insufficient financial education.
However, there is a potential solution to handle the unbanked situation ingeniously. As you might know, virtual currencies – popularly known as cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.), have pretty much been the talk of the town.
- Can help prevent fraud;
- Are easily accessible;
- Help in identity theft prevention;
- Enable faster transactional settlements.
But high volatility renders them unsuitable for use. Enter stablecoins, stable versions of their wild crypto counterparts.
As opposed to the highly fluctuating nature of cryptocurrencies, stablecoins are in general equanimous, when it comes to market value. Why? Because they are “stable” and are pegged (or linked) to national currencies like USD, EUR, CNY or JPY and sometimes to real-world assets
like gold or oil. This is to keep their value stable unlike the price of Bitcoin or Ethereum which keeps varying every time.
Advantages of stablecoins:
1. Stability in trading from the comfort of your smartphone;
2. Easy liquidation for traders and investors in a situation of the market
3. Insulation from sporadic volatility.
Primarily, there are three kinds of stablecoins:
● Non-collateralized (algorithmic).
Out of these three, a fiat-collateralized stablecoin is the most basic and simple form of this cryptocurrency. A central entity (or custodian) puts up an amount of fiat currency as collateral, and a stablecoin is issued against the fiat currency at a 1:1 ratio. This form of stablecoin should,
in theory, require a periodic audit to ensure that it is truly collateralized.
Few popular fiat-collateralized stablecoins currently available in the market are:
- Tether (USDT)
- Gemini USD (GUSD)
- USD Coin (USDC)
- Statis (EURS)
- bitEUR (BITEUR)
- bitCNY (BITCNY)
From what it seems, and what you might have guessed fiat-collateralized stablecoins can actually eliminate the requirement for a conventional bank account. Secondly, such stablecoins can actually open up an individual to the global financial market.
How? Imagine a situation where people living in Africa, Asia, or South America have an opportunity of accessing European banking services through any of the fiat-collateralized stablecoins, without having to pay any sort of commission. Wouldn’t it be absolutely amazing?
That’s where Aximetria comes in. A Swiss fintech company founded in 2017, Aximetria is committed to promoting banking without borders and providing Swiss-level banking
service to global consumers in Africa and other regions.
The company recently announced support for Gemini USD (GUSD) and Statis (EURS) stablecoins in its state-of-the-art financial asset management app. Unlike other European neo-banks offering traditional currencies only to Europeans, Aximetria continues to adhere to the policy of providing high-quality, stable and secure financial instruments globally. Furthermore, Aximetria will support all popular stablecoins in its mobile application by mid-2019.
This year the company will also extend its services to B2B payments on the basis of stablecoins, freeing businesses of a number of restrictions and limitations. Aximetria users will be required to go through a remote verification process (KYC), after which they can buy or sell global
currencies. They can also securely store and exchange other currencies. Adding stablecoins is the next step in the company's strategy to combine innovation and the highest level of security so inherent in financial Swiss services. -[Katia Shabanova].
Centbee, South Africa based Bitcoin wallet and merchant payment ecosystem raises £1 million from Ayre Ventures Johannesburg - April 17, 2019.
Centbee is a Bitcoin wallet provider that makes it easy for consumers to acquire, store and spend Bitcoin with retailers and other merchants. Centbee supports Bitcoin SV because it is the only blockchain that fulfils the original Bitcoin design and protocol. Based in South Africa, Centbee was founded by co-CEOs, Lorien Gamaroff and Angus Brown. Gamaroff is a leading
expert in blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies. He has consulted and advised regulators and corporates internationally and is highly regarded globally as an educator and presenter. Brown has 20 years experience in payments and banking including the role of CEO of eBucks.com, a world-first bank-backed digital currency created in 2000.
Centbee has made it easy for customers to buy Bitcoin SV easily at over 50 000 till points in South Africa, says Brown. Through this, we will help people move money simply and cheaply across borders to support family and friends. The investment will be used for product development, scaling and growth.-[ Susan von Seggern ]
æternity Hub Africa
æternity Hub Africa is a software company developing decentralized applications on æternity blockchain (open source) platform.
Apollo Eric is the head of the æternity hub Africa, who believes Africa is poised for true fintech disruption, more so than most other continents – after all, M-Pesa has been ingrained into the day-to-day lives of many citizens in African nations since before the notion of ‘fintech’ had properly taken hold. This mobile cash system is used by businesses and individuals alike to send and receive digital payments.
Blockchain technology can be implemented into a myriad of applications (financial and beyond) that disintermediate middlemen in incumbent processes. This is something we actively strive to encourage with our Hub Africa initiative, which aims to educate individuals, devs and entrepreneurs on the potential of the æternity blockchain, exploring and showcasing the technology in frequent meetups and hackathons.
æternity is both flexible and highly scalable and with a focus on mobile decentralised applications, it is ideally positioned to piggyback off of the network effects of services like M-Pesa to bring to life a burgeoning ecosystem operated by trust-minimised smart contracts, populated with individuals, SMEs and government entities. [Frances Wells Cryptoland PR ]
Cybermiles is a new public blockchain for online marketplaces. Notably, of the 20 most populous nations today (which together account for close to 70 per cent of the world’s total population), a full 17 of them are considered developing economies or otherwise classified by the International Monetary Fund as emerging markets. These countries not only share in common exponential economic and population growth but also tend to be, by and large, extraordinarily young. (In fact, three African nations — D.R. Congo, Ethiopia, and Nigeria — rank among the 20 nations with the youngest populations: only 17 years old on average!)
In Africa, developing countries lack sophisticated financial markets or infrastructure, making easy access to capital unavailable to businesses and consumers who, in turn, rely mainly on a cash-based (or even barter-based) system for everyday commercial and peer-to-peer transactions. Being untethered to conventional payment methods (ex. credit/debit cards), and less entrenched in the way things are done (such as carrying a wallet, as is prevalent in the western world), opens up interesting — and potentially lucrative — opportunities. Consider that, in 2000, only four per cent of people living in low-/middle-income countries had access to mobile phones. By 2015, that had risen to over 90 per cent. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, there are now more than 76 mobile cellular subscriptions for every 100 people.
Even in more developed African nations (ex. South Africa), mobile and blockchain technologies actually can compliment legacy systems. And in countries where cash is still king, blockchain holds enormous potential to simplify B2B and C2C payment networks — from better micropayments, to lower transaction fees, to easier cross-border remittances, and much more. Not if but when is key.
CyberMiles, for its part, has built up a passionate community of participants and supporters the world over. From Botswana to Ghana, Nigeria to Uganda and Zimbabwe, CyberMilers throughout Africa have been eager to help CyberMiles make the decentralization (and democratization) or e-commerce as we know it a reality. [Mark Brinkerhoff ].
Do you have any project going on in Africa that is not on the list? Drop your comment below.
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