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Is Africa heading for crypto revolution?

Is Africa heading for crypto revolution?

Stakeholders in Africa's cryptocurrency market believe the launch of several new Africa-centric crypto-tokens in 2018 and an increase in the number of blockchain-related projects is evidence the continent is prepping for a crypto revolution.

"Yes, market conditions are just right across the African continent for a crypto revolution to take hold," said Tomi Ayorinde, CEO of CrowdForce in Nigeria. "Blockchain will transform Africa more than in developed nations. The best African FinTech start-ups are building with this in mind."

Start-ups like SureRemit, SUNEX (Sun Exchange) and SAFCOIN (FHM), raised funds to achieve their projects' goals through the blockchain-based crowdfunding mechanism, ICO or initial coin offering.

Others had to sell their tokens directly in line with their planned business models.

Nigeria's SureRemit, for example, reportedly realised US$7-million from its ICO earlier in the year.

"We can see that interest in Bitcoin in Nigeria and South Africa is really high for money transfer and remittance purposes," Ayorinde added. "FinTechs leveraging crypto will be able provide low cost alternatives to the present ways of money transfer and people can start to adopt community coins for payments of goods and services in their locality. These are exciting times to disrupt the old and big centralised institutions in Africa."

Communications Director at SAFCOIN, Michela Ferreira, noted that the continent is seeing a rise in crypto start-ups because they are devoted to solving many of Africa's unique complexities.

She said: "It is a good thing that we are experiencing a surge in this space. Although each aims to serve a specific purpose / a few purposes, they are working towards one ultimate goal: to build Africa, empower her inhabitants and pave the way to reach new heights in various economic sectors for all to benefit from."

Ferreira added that if each of these Africa-focused cryptos fulfil a need that conventional technology and systems have not been able to revolutionise within Africa, then the industry "can look forward to amazing growth throughout a variety of sectors over the coming years."

The lack of coordinated regulation to guide these start-ups remains a challenge.

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