The adoption of Bitcoin means 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, mistrust, major regulators banning digital currencies, and a lack of cryptocurrency education.
In Africa, there is no set framework for educating cryptocurrency. However, it has been observed that quite a few major players have had a significant impact in raising awareness and understanding of Bitcoin. This includes everything from institutions to cryptocurrency exchanges, individuals and private companies.
Africans mainly use social media sites like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram to learn about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. They also get 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 regulators, as well as bans and bans imposed by central banks.
Taking a long-term view, some organizations are building schools while others are developing educational materials for schools. One of the prominent leaders in this is Youssef Nassari, co-founder and director of the Built With Bitcoin Foundation. He has built schools in Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria in partnership with Paxful and other players.
SHAmory is a company that produces fun Bitcoin-themed games and books, and 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 generational gap. Their products are designed to teach kids of all ages about Bitcoin and its features in a fun and engaging way.
According to Gemini’s Global State of Crypto Report 2022, education is the single most important global barrier to cryptocurrency ownership. According to the study, 40% of African participants did not buy any cryptocurrency because they did not understand how to buy and hold. Other barriers to Bitcoin adoption included a lack of confidence and apprehension about Bitcoin’s price volatility.
The lack of education makes Africa a mature target for crypto scammers from all over the world. These crypto scams range from Ponzi schemes promising lucrative returns to DeFi projects promising above-market returns on cryptocurrency and yield farming. This erodes the element of trust required for wider adoption.
For example, in 2021, the founders of Africarypt, a cryptocurrency investment platform, stole more than $3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin in South Africa. Since cryptocurrencies are not recognized as financial assets in South Africa, the regulatory authority has no grounds for prosecution. This is one of the many cryptocurrency scams that have occurred in Africa in the past two years. This raises concerns about the security of cryptocurrency projects in Africa, which raises the level of wider adoption.
Binance and other players are organizing educational programs to help Africans understand cryptocurrency, protect their cryptocurrency, and avoid cryptocurrency 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 to have educated more than 541,000 Africans about cryptocurrency.
The most significant obstacle to Bitcoin adoption in many parts of North Africa is the presence of strict regulations prohibiting the use of cryptocurrencies, while others prohibit banks from doing business with crypto companies. According to a study conducted by the Law Library of Congress in 2021, the use of private cryptocurrencies is prohibited in Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria.
Satoshicentre, one of the oldest Bitcoin companies in Africa, started crypto education in Botswana in 2014. Satoshicentre has not expanded much because the Botswana government has not implemented digital currency regulation, so it is compelled to accelerate cryptocurrency adoption through peer-to-peer transactions. With the current legal framework, obtaining a license to exchange cryptocurrency in Botswana is challenging.
Satoshicentre teamed up with Paxful last year to create a center to accelerate blockchain startup and innovation. The collaboration aims to educate Motswana about blockchain, support blockchain startups, and connect them with investors to help them scale.
To truly expand Bitcoin adoption in Africa, crypto community leaders must find a way to educate politicians and other policy makers about Bitcoin and its properties. 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 policy makers understand and embrace bitcoin, the chances of passing bitcoin-friendly legislation and regulations increase.
Moreover, Bitcoin publics in Africa should accelerate blockchain education to help people understand cryptography and secure their currencies. This will slow the spread and impact of cryptocurrency frauds while also restoring trust in blockchain projects. This will also speed up crypto adoption because most blockchain education programs end up in the orange color for their students.
Disclosure: I own Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.