Binance, Akon and the Expanding African Crypto EcosystemMay 9, 2020
The role of Africa in the modern global economy and its perception by regular people outside of the continent is today in a state of disjointedness. For many, the countries of Africa, especially the sub-Saharan region, is a place that plays a very small role in global finance or economic pathways. However, the reality is quite the opposite and one that is growing more so with each passing year.
In more than one way, Africa is on the rise and so are many of its countries, previously little known for any macro-economic activity. This fact is nothing new to experts and analysts who have followed the same region and its development ever since the end of the 20th century.
Today, however, the level of advancement being made in nations like Nigeria or Ethiopia is at the moment breathtaking. Even global superpowers like China are no longer perceiving the same regions as an unimportant player on the world stage. The same applies to local and regional processes related to cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin. Now, a relationship that connects a global pop star, one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world and Africa is generating even more steam for this domain.
Surge of Users
Many analysts believe that in the long-run, African markets will influence heavily the way money – including fiat and crypto – develops on a global level. In the nations of Africa in the previous years, the awareness of cryptocurrencies and their usage dramatically shot up. Entrepreneurs in particular play a big role in that process. In Ghana, students are working on using bitcoin as a tool that can be employed in international trade and not just be a means of speculation. They are all high school age, but all of the members of the team plan on getting bitcoin as soon as they turn 18.
This is not a lone example and shows the grassroots presence of crypto consciousness in not just Ghana, but the entire region. This is confirmed by many local exchanges that showcase a constant growth in their activity, especially since the start of the pandemic crisis. Here, like with esports, social media, and other digital ventures, the surge of users is clear to see across the board. In some places, exchanges are leaving their users waiting for another day to purchase bitcoin because they might run out of BTC. This also shows the overall growth of the P2P trading platforms in Kenya, Nambiti, and countries in West Africa.
While Gahan shows that its crypto market is booming, it is still a minor player in regional terms. Nigeria is a much bigger country, but its bitcoin activity is almost 10 times that of Ghana. Drugging the lockdown so far, more than 63 million USD worth of bitcoin was traded in Nigeria. This is just a small showcase of the fact that Africa has immense potential for future crypto market growth. 60 percent of its 1.2 billion population is under the age of 25. This is why local traders, but also big global companies are placing their bets that the African market will continue its present trend of growth.
This is also the reason why Binance, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the world is making its presence be known in Africa. It is backing Bundle, a social-backed payments startup in Nigeria. In April, the Bundle app got thousands of downloads. Now, the startup is looking to expand further. As China showed, digital fintech solutions like the now-massive WeChat really can offer frog leaps for the communities that do not have access to traditional solutions. Africa is the perfect example for the growing demand of this kind so it is no wonder that some big international names like Akon are joining the same ecosystem.
Akon City Project
Akon is a Senegalese-American musician and recording artist who gained global fame more than a decade ago. Now, he is joining the local cryptocurrency industry and is trying to expand a range of projects in Africa. One of the recent ones includes Akoin, a cryptocurrency that plans to provide pan-African support and establish a presence throughout the region. The project should start in Senegal where President Macky Sall provided Acon with over 2,000 acres of land.
This is the starting point for Akon City, as well as a tech industrial hub in Kenya. These should see the use of Akoins very soon. Here, salaries should be paid in the same digital currency and locations like supermarkets should accept it. The fact that makes things even more interesting is that the governments offer their full backing to the initiative.
This digital currency was built on top of the Stellar blockchain network. In the next couple of months, it should see the token sale that should raise 6.7 million USD, which will be about one-tenth of the overall token supply. About 10 more percent will go to the founding team and about 5 percent to their advisors.
Now, the creators believe that the country will be able to use Akoin as something similar to a stablecoin. This means that citizens will have the option of using crypto as a form of savings. Here, the Akoin team is also pointing out that they would like to emulate the success of Dash in Latina America, even though this has serious critics about the way it targets an otherwise vulnerable population. But, regardless of that, the fact that the
Akoin project has the backing of the government of Senegal shows the level of trust and commitment the nation’s leaders have in the initiative. The moment when Akoin gets its listing on Biannca and other crypto exchanges will be, however, the next big milestone. If there is any issue upon its launch, the entire initiative could face an instant and very big problem. If it goes smoothly, it will be just another big piece of the African crypto scene. For now, regardless of Akon and its potential success or failure, that scene looks rock solid.