What could 2019 reserve for cryptocurrencies in Africa? The New Times


The appetite for digital currencies has not yet worked well in Africa. There are over 2000 digital currencies active worldwide and others continue to be issued. Among the latest and perhaps to behold for the continent in 2019 are AfriUnion Coin (AUC) and the AfriNational Tokens (ANT).

Both digital currencies, which Forbes Africa describes as a quest to revolutionize the financial system on the continent, are the brainchild of George Gordon, the director of Africa Master Blockchain Company.

Unlike most of the current digital currencies, based on speculative models, he explained in a December 2018 issue of the online magazine that the AUC and the ANT are designed for a transactional purpose.

If they are at the height of their billing, they will allow international payments, remittances, foreign direct investment and daily transactions at local stores and other outlets.

"It's the natural next step for digital finance from mobile banking that most Africans are used to," he says.

About 535 million people or 50% of the sub-Saharan Africa population will subscribe to a mobile service by 2020, according to GSMA, the global association of mobile operators.

This has raised optimism that the cell phone could provide the platform for more Africans to tap into the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

To date, the ecosystem includes Bitcoin, which remains the most popular in Africa, followed by other global brands such as Litecoin, XRP, Dash, Lisk and Monero.

Furthermore, volatility and near-comical failure to meet astronomically bullish expectations at the beginning of last year do not seem to have eased the appetite for currencies.

At the beginning of 2018, when Bitcoin traded at USD 20,000, some of the most confident of the best experts in the sector predicted that Bitcoin would hit $ 75,000 and reach $ 100,000 per currency by December 2018.

High optimism has become something of a comedy. On December 29, the price of Bitcoin was going to something between $ 3,500 and $ 4,000.

However, the notorious unpredictability of digital currencies is not the whole story; the true story that is driving the seemingly irrepressible appetite.

Consider that, despite the extreme volatility, the daily volume of both the cryptocurrency and Bitcoin market remains relatively high, respectively at $ 15 billion and $ 5 billion.

Despite the unpredictability, in these impressive figures is the irony that accentuates the silver coating that perpetuates the promise in the riches of technology.

So, for experts, it's not just AfriUnion Coin's and AfriNational Tokens' sympathies that risk hitting the market and prospering, but the prospects for African governments still uncertain about political direction seem good, since some they meditate on whether to issue their digital offers.

An information note last August by Ecobank that analyzes the "African crypto regulation" presents the situation of the cryptocurrency landscape as perceived by the governments of the continent.

Of the 39 countries under analysis, so far only two, South Africa and Swaziland, have a favorable or permissive position on digital money, while only Namibia has banned cryptocurrencies.

On the other hand, Senegal and Tunisia are the first national adopters of the digital currency.

Tunisia became the first country in the world in 2015 to issue a national currency based on the blockchain called eDinar – also known as Digicash and BitDinar.

Senegal has issued its blockchain eCFA, which takes its name from the CFA franc, the regular Senegalese currency, in December 2016.

According to the analysis, the Eastern African Community countries, like most others on the continent, are classified as "in a contentious position, but with signs that the situation is continually monitored".

Rwanda is described in the category of countries that have "research indications on the potential of cryptocurrencies, accompanied by a warning".

Overall, the report notes that "African governments and central banks mostly adopt an" wait and see "approach when it comes to regulating cryptocurrencies."

It seems that African countries are looking to their neighbors to regulate and innovate first, and learn from their mistakes, the report suggests.

Initially, one of the main reasons why Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were incredibly interesting was the perception of their inherent resistance to government regulation and interference.

It is now redundant that the regulation is not only imperative, but prudent in the face of the unintended impact of technology to offer a safe haven for money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion and fraud.

This could be the year when African governments decide which direction to take. What is certain is that now it is passed that regulation is not only imperative, but prudent in the face of the unintended impact of technology to offer a safe haven for money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion and fraud.

As for 2019 it will be prosperous for bettors, we wait and see.

Happy New Year.

Twitter: @gituram

The opinions expressed in this the article is of the author.

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