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Low education level obstructs Bitcoin growth in Africa
Financial markets world over are slowly embracing bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology. Over the past six years, not only hundreds of start-ups have emerged, but also big banks and investment firms are investing in these bitcoin-based companies. However, Africa tells a different story.
Not many people are accepting this new technology in the region mainly due to low level of education and awareness about it, Memeburn reports.
Francois Harris, founder of Bitcoinzar, a website providing information to bitcoin users in South Africa, confirmed the low numbers of users around Africa, the publication house said.
“Real bitcoin users, who are daily users of the bitcoin network, and understand the technology and how it works, probably less than 1000 people,” Harris said.
Harris said that the cryptocurrency saw rapid growth in South Africa through educational events, local meetups and conferences. However, he pointed out that there are several factors to consider while launching a bitcoin service in the region.
“Most Africans who are sending money into Africa are not using bitcoin yet as a mechanism for remittance and traditional options like MoneyGram and Western Union are still the biggest players in that market,” Harris explained.
He added that there are various online resources, including Bitcoinzar.co.za, which would help in educating bitcoin users on how to use the currency. Moreover, smartphone and internet penetration in Africa is positive for the bitcoin exchange platform as the service requires internet connection at present.
Bitsoko, a Kenya-based bitcoin exchange platform, believes that having meetups will help them in getting more users beyond the 500 they have currently, as reported by Memeburn. It received US$100,000 from Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) in July under the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to expand to other parts of the continent.
“For the first time we are able to innovate the financial sector. Never before has this happened or has technology been dependable and robust enough to allow for digitization of value. Just as state separated from the church, so will money separate from state”, said Gibson Juma, co-founder and CEO of Bitsoko.