Bitcoin is Set to Disrupt Africa's $85 Billion Financial System – Here's What You Need to Know
The wide-ranging report, authored by CNBC’s crypto reporter MacKenzie Sigalos, came three months after the conclusion of the inaugural Africa Bitcoin Conference in Accra, Ghana, and went into detail on how Bitcoin is disrupting Africa’s financial system.
An important player in the African Bitcoin story right now is Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and his Bitcoin-focused payments company Block, Inc. Notably, Dorsey was among the presenters at the Africa Bitcoin Conference, and he appeared to make a big impact, according to the report.
The report pointed to one quote by Dorsey at the conference where he spoke about how Bitcoin had made up for money lost during a recent street protest in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian government went to various bank corps to stop protesters from receiving money — which Bitcoin made up for. So our whole reason for being as a company is solving the same problem that Bitcoin will ultimately solve for everyone in the world,” the Twitter founder was quoted as saying.
According to CNBC, Dorsey’s push into Africa offers an alternative to the prevailing negative narrative around Bitcoin. Instead of being something regulators are eager to crack down on, Bitcoin in Africa “brings financial power to people who would otherwise have none,” the report said.
It also pointed out how Africa is particularly well suited for a decentralized currency like Bitcoin, given the many problems facing countries on the continent.
“In countries where the vast majority of the population is unbanked, national currencies are no longer a safe store of value, remittances comprise a hefty portion of GDP, and international sanctions complicate connections to the global economy, a virtual currency that doesn’t require an intermediary to approve transactions can be a vital lifeline for survival,” the report said.
“A market for bitcoin in every corner of the world”
Commenting on the use of Bitcoin for cross-border payments, Mike Brock, the CEO of TBD, a business unit under Block, said that the cryptocurrency can now be used almost anywhere in the world.
“I can exchange dollars for bitcoin and then bitcoin for Brazilian rial. There is a market for bitcoin in every corner of the world today,” Brock said, while also pointing out that when bitcoin is used for payments, the price of the coin becomes irrelevant.
“It doesn’t matter to me if the price goes down or up, because I can still use bitcoin as a vehicle to move money around the world instantaneously,” he said.
Brock added that Bitcoin is far better than traditional mobile money systems, given that there are no interoperability or regulatory challenges when money is sent across borders.
“If you can get access to the internet, you can settle bitcoin payments. And the government can’t do anything about it,” Brock finally said.
Watch CNBC’s report from Africa Bitcoin Conference in December: