What could help cryptocurrency spread in Africa?

09 Sep 2019, 12:00 am
Michael Hummel
What could help cryptocurrency spread in Africa?

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For cryptocurrency to become more prevalent in Africa, it needs to become easier to spend.

Cryptocurrency symbols

Cryptocurrencies are on the rise in Africa, but we may only be scratching the surface of their potential impact. Indeed, many have pointed to Africa for years as a place where cryptos could truly take off, largely because they can reach the "unbanked," or people without access to regular bank accounts. However, while there's some logic to this argument in certain countries and communities around the continent, there are also some more specific developments that could spur a sharper rise in demand for cryptos.

Here's our look at some of those potential developments.

Point-of-Sale Machines

One thing that needs to happen for cryptocurrency to become more prevalent in Africa is that it needs to become easier to spend. If there is a spread of point-of-sale machines that could accept bitcoin and other cryptos at brick-and-mortar shops, more customers would have the option to use the digital currencies. The availability of this sort of payment option would also make prominent cryptos more visible, which in turn could get more consumers interested in trying them out. POS machines are their own form of marketing, in this sense. Now, this is actually something we're beginning to see, albeit slowly, in some parts of the world. That is, there is such a thing as a crypto-equipped POS machine. However, we haven't seen a wide spread just yet, and a machine that would make a real difference promoting cryptos in Africa would need to be reliable, recognizable, and trusted by merchants and consumers alike.

A Spread of Online Gaming

As online casino sites become even more popular, it's often people without regular access to physical casino venues that appreciate the widespread online availability the most. While some governments aren't as supportive of the spread of online gambling, and thus seek to restrain it, we've reached a point at which some type of game is available more or less everywhere. And as we've gotten to this point, it has also become clear that bitcoin and other digital currencies stand to benefit. The best online gambling sites, typically out of the UK and Europe, offer a variety of safe and secure payment methods to make things easy and trustworthy for gamers. And, increasingly, we're seeing those methods expanding to include cryptos. As this trend expands, then, it stands to reason that areas with steady online gaming activity could see increased demand for bitcoin as well. In fact, some may even start using cryptocurrencies specifically to play online games where they may not be legal to play with "real" currency.

Crypto Debit Cards

As cryptos have become more mainstream, we've seen a rise in bitcoin debit cards. If a leading bitcoin debit card, or one for any major cryptocurrency, become more relevant (perhaps reducing conversion fees, or gaining acceptance with more merchants), then it stands to reason that more people would be interested in using such a card to make purchases. While some advise caution with debit cards, such cards can be helpful tools with regard to cryptos, if only because they simplify usage (which can ordinarily be one of the barriers to crypto adoption).

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