Africa a guinea pig for the feasibility of digital payment systems
African countries may well be the proving ground for cryptocurrency technology, much as they have been for mobile telecommunication.
The term “leapfrog” is popular among Africa tech analysts, who point to how the continent embraced mobile phones at a time when few African countries had a properly developed fixed-line network.
Digital currencies could also bypass the dysfunctional banking systems that hinder the development of many African states.
For instance, the Zimbabwean-based cryptocurrency BitMari intends to step in where the country’s banking system has failed. Two out of three Zimbabweans do not have a bank account, but almost all have a mobile phone. BitMari claims to have designed the first ever blockchain-based digital coupon used by women farmers. BitMari has also applied for a remittance licence to accept currency from the army of expatriates working abroad.
Photo courtesy of Simon Berry.