Author Olusegun Ogundeji
China is steady with Bitcoin. For those who have been following up, you will agree that so much has been happening around India too of late. It is however pertinent at this early point to look at a perspective that points in the direction of how these additional developments in India would impact other parts of the world – particularly Africa.
Bitcoin Rise in India
The recent Unocoin funding round led by early-stage investor Blume Ventures, for example, is one of them. It has been trumpeted as a complement to other positive Bitcoin-related developments in India such as Zebpay’s recent announcement to have crossed the 100,000 downloads milestone for Android and iOS devices on its app-based Bitcoin exchange to highlight “India’s growing interest in bitcoin as an investment, commodity and technology.”
Zebpay is eyeing a user-base of more than 450,000 by the end of 2016. This would add to whatever would come out of the new partnership between Indian Bitcoin exchange Coinsecure and money transfer platform OKLink – a spinoff of Chinese Bitcoin exchange OKCoin – for remittances to India. And so on.
I bet you that with these new happenings, more investors are going to pay more attention to the country as well as the Bitcoin potential therein.
From India to South Africa
It is just a matter of time for the bubble to burst in India and a little sooner for the multiplier effect of the burst to spill over to Africa.
After India, Africa will take it up starting with South Africa and the continent’s former largest economy, Nigeria.
There is a cultural link between Indians and South Africa due to the Gandhi connection and Indians’ contribution to the to the African National Congress’s struggle against the Apartheid regime and bilateral trade between them has grown to around $12 billion. This factor is likely to contribute to the growth of Bitcoin activities between the two countries – and in a larger context – between the two continents.
More than any other African country, Bitcoin-related activities are higher in South Africa where you have the likes of Bitx and ICE3x running things with their exchanges which are also connected to other parts of the world including Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
As the momentum is building steadily in South Africa as well as the system making for a sustained growth, so is it happening in Kenya. According to Localbitcoins, and key news around, Kenya follows South Africa for Bitcoin-related happenings. However, not much has been heard of Nigeria in this realm.
When asked if postulating that after India – based on Bitcoin-related noise and happenings going around of late – the next stop for the Bitcoin/blockchain boom will be in Africa, head of Bitland Group, Christopher Bates, says it makes sense.
In a chat with Cointelegraph, he said:
“Yes, absolutely! Mauritius and India have close business ties. As well, Mauritius is in the process of adjusting its laws to prevent unnecessary double taxation on international business. India is still negotiating with Mauritius but they will likely have a result that is conducive to more business with India. As well, Bank of China just signed deal with Mauritius and opened a new headquarters.”
Bates had earlier stated that the fact that Mauritius has one of the biggest banks in Africa and the biggest bank in East Africa positions it to be a ‘Blockchain valley’ that will benefit other countries. That was after Mauritius had its first annual Blockchain seminar where he had noted that with the bank’s presence, Mauritius has the opportunity to establish an offshore data warehouse that stores a government level Blockchain for countries that don’t have the capacity for their own Blockchain warehouses to use.
Nigeria missing out?
Yet, Nigeria shares the most similarities with India. It has a huge population. With its almost a 200-million population and the rising number of Internet users in Nigeria, coupled with its high remittance level – major remittance recipients in 2015 were China, with $64 billion, the Philippines ($28 billion), Mexico ($25 billion) and Nigeria ($21 billion) – a key factor that would work for Nigeria and Africa as a whole regarding growing remittance (which may lead the push to Bitcoin) is a point made by Dilip Ratha, head of the World Bank’s migration project called the Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development about Indians – they have a need.
Nigerians have a need particular at a time like this when the exchange rate to global currencies such as the US dollar has skyrocketed by almost 40% while the banks, through the certified money transfer agencies still apply foreign exchange rates that are incomparable to black market rates. This makes the Nigerian situation such a perfect one in need of a deeper search for an alternative.
It is a matter of making Nigerians know and develop interest in Bitcoin and the most populous black country in the world would be a go-to place for investors as well as the market.
In the meantime, keep following developments in India. At the same time, keep an eye on what’s going on in Africa.
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