Is the Time Finally Ripe for Bitcoin Remittances in Africa?
Sunday, October 16, 2016
When the words Bitcoin and Africa appear in a sentence, the word remittance usually follows. When Bitcoin first hit the mainstream in 2013, its low-cost money transfer feature was hailed as the solution to the overly expensive remittance costs charged by the large money transfer operators (MTOs), Western Union and MoneyGram. This is especially true when it comes to transferring funds to Africa.
However, in the eight years since Bitcoin was first launched, bitcoin remittances in Africa have not really taken off.
Bitcoin’s Challenges in Kenya
Bitcoin is an industry that regularly likes to hype itself up. This has also been the case when it comes to Bitcoin adoption in Africa. As highlighted in a recent article by VICE Motherboard , the rise of Bitcoin in Africa is largely a myth, predominantly propagated by Western enthusiasts and stakeholders. The reality is that Bitcoin adoption across the continent is growing, but at a rather slow pace.
The trend, however, is definitely positive, which can be seen by looking at trading volumes for Kenya on the peer-to-peer exchange, LocalBitcoins.com. But overall volumes are still small compared to other parts of the world, and mainstream Bitcoin adoption is effectively non-existent.