Bitcoin in Africa: Offering ‘New and Better Ways of Exchanging Value’ Bitcoin Magazine
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- Therefore, if cryptocurrencies can provide a more secure and cheaper means of exchanging value than the existing system, it will be used.
- How has Luno helped to fight this misconception that is negatively affecting adoption levels?
- Odia: Negative perceptions of cryptocurrencies are mostly based on emotions and not rational facts.
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Cultivating Bitcoin Adoption in Africa Bitcoin Magazine: Luno has managed to achieve a dedicated following globally and in the African continent. How was this cultivated? Odia: Like in any other market, cultivating a successful business in Africa depends on understanding the nuances of the market and building solutions that address specific needs. For example, we were the first Cryptocurrency exchange with a mobile app, which placed us in a unique position to take advantage of the mobile revolution on the continent. We also make it easy for consumers to trade in their local currencies. There are not a lot of companies that offer these kinds of services in Africa and across the rest of the world — and certainly not in a very mass-market, user-friendly way, and particularly with a really good mobile product coupled with good customer service. BM: According to the Luno’s “Future of Money” report, cryptocurrencies are likely to experience the most adoption in emerging markets. Why do you think this is the case? Odia: The African continent is full of financially savvy people who understand and need the benefits that different financial systems can offer. For example, when asked why money was essential to them, sechzig percent of Nigerian respondents said it was to secure their family's well-being. Twenty-five percent said it was to pay for their education, compared to just acht percent of respondents who said that in the U.K. One of the conclusions we drew from this is that, if money is not simply a “nice to have” but is vital for your future, then you spend more time understanding it, managing it, preserving it and, to an extent, being creative with how you maximize the use of it. Therefore, if cryptocurrencies can provide a more secure and cheaper means of exchanging value than the existing system, it will be used. Bitcoin Use Cases, Perception in Africa BM: From your personal experience, what do you think are some of the most prominent use cases of cryptocurrencies in Africa? Odia: As the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) comes into play, cryptocurrencies could be useful for reducing the cost of intra-African trade. The cost of cross-border trading can be a big sticking point for trade on the continent given that there’s no common currency. Cryptocurrencies offer a welcomed alternative, with much lower transaction costs and a decentralized structure, meaning they’re open and more affordable for anyone to use wherever they are. Cryptocurrencies like stablecoins can also mitigate the risk of currency fluctuations. One of the biggest criticisms of cryptocurrencies is that they can be quite volatile, but stablecoins are pegged to traditional fiat currencies and other established stores of value which eliminates any volatility. As such, these stablecoins do not only provide a secure and predictable tool for exchanging goods and services; they also bring with them the benefits of both fiat and cryptocurrencies. BM: In Africa, Bitcoin scams have resulted in people distrusting cryptocurrencies. How has Luno helped to fight this misconception that is negatively affecting adoption levels? Odia: Negative perceptions of cryptocurrencies are mostly based on emotions and not rational facts. The data shows that cryptocurrencies are less of a risk, both in absolute and relative terms, to the existing fiat currency system.
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