Kenya is what many refer to as the African Silicon Valley. Despite the unstable nature and overall volatility of Bitcoin, Nairobi has become the hotspot of crypto transactions as some businesses have started accepting payments in BTC. In fact, Blockchain Association of Kenya reports that the total number of local Bitcoin transactions has surpassed the one million USD threshold years ago.
But what is the driving force behind this phenomenon and is the technology behind it up to the task? Find out more below!
The practicality of Bitcoin
Let’s face it: fiat currencies do come with their own set of limitations and are not nearly as convenient. Although both can be used to pay for goods and services, Bitcoin transactions tend to be faster with built-in anonymity added on top.
This makes Bitcoin the payment method of choice on numerous occasions. For instance, gambling is very popular in Kenya (it was one of the first African countries to legalize it) and many Bitcoin-accepting gambling platforms like Bitcasino.io have sprung up in the recent times to cater to the growing demand. The reason is simple: instead of waiting for a traditional wire transfer to come through, the players tend to prefer paying with Bitcoin since it’s much faster.
International money transfers is another contributing factor. With banks, sending large amounts of money overseas (or even to neighboring countries) can be made difficult due to bureaucratic obstacles or bank policies. On the other hand, as long as the recipient has a crypto wallet address, they can receive Bitcoin transfers of unlimited sizes from any corner of the world; all that within minutes.
Despite everything that Bitcoin has going for it, there are still certain obstacles that prevent it from reaching its full potential. For starters, Kenyan banks are known to refuse anyone dealing in virtual currencies, which means the residents have a hard time converting Bitcoin back into cash. The reverse, however, does not apply, as there are plenty of Bitcoin machines that allow you to buy Bitcoin using fiat currency.
Then, we have to address the elephant in the room – Bitcoin’s inherent volatility. Since the market keeps going up and down, not everyone is comfortable with pumping their savings into it. A little bit of profit sounds appealing, but this is assuming the wind blows your way. What if it doesn’t, thus leading you to losing a good chunk of your money? Both the gains as well as losses can be massive. For an average Kenyan citizen, this is way too risky of a proposition.
Kenyans know to seize an opportunity when they see one. Although the country is struck with poverty, it houses numerous crypto-savvy traders who have made a significant profit over time. In fact, Kenya is one of the highest ranking countries in terms of Bitcoin trading volume.
With the right knowledge and precise timing, a skilled Bitcoin trader can make a profit from anywhere in the world.
Even before Bitcoin became a thing, M-Pesa and other digital currency apps used to be quite popular indeed. Bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology turned out to be the perfect fit – this is due to its efficiency and overall safety that comes by design.
Furthermore, the nature of business in Kenya creates a need for quick and easy payments that don’t require the involvement of any third-party platforms, apps, or institutions. All of this helped it find its natural place in the country’s ecosystem. The sheer power of being able to make or receive a transaction without having a bank account is a game-changer.
Everything considered, Bitcoin is a major driving force in Kenya despite the presence of many challenges and obstacles on the road ahead. In the end, Bitcoin solves many more problems than the ones it introduces. Over time, its rate of acceptance is expected to grow even more.