It is often said that Africa, with its share of developing countries, stand to benefit greatly from the new financial system which cryptocurrency affords. This is because of the poor state of some of the currencies used in the region.
In Uganda, this was felt as Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange opened a local subsidiary in the country. According to a report on crypto new outlet Coindesk, no less than 40,000 new users joined Binance Uganda within the first week after its launch in October.
This proves that Africa is indeed a strong frontier for cryptocurrency activity despite the downtrend which has seen interest wane amongst retail traders. Just like in many African countries, Uganda has a high rate of unbanked individuals—an estimated 75 percent of residents do not have bank accounts.
How Binance Operates in Uganda
Binance is hoping to improve the level of financial inclusion through its outlet without the need to create bank accounts. “They [users] just have to have money within the mobile payment system. They don’t have to have bank accounts,” explained Wei Zhou, the exchange’s chief financial officer.
Binance is working with an unnamed payments provider in the country to offer fiat to crypto transactions, something that is not available on its global platform. Through the arrangement, Binance users in the country can trade cryptocurrencies with the Ugandan shilling. At the moment, only bitcoin [BTC] and ethereum [ETH] are listed on Binance Uganda.
Also, unlike other Binance customers who operate with only an email, Ugandan’s will have to fulfill know-your-customer (KYC) requirements and identity verification processes. That doesn’t seem to deter them.
Cryptocurrency Climate in Africa
Before Binance came to Uganda, crypto enthusiast obtained cryptocurrencies mainly through peer-to-peer platforms like local bitcoins but this was not without its own hiccups. When interviewed by Coindesk, Marvin Coleby, a Kenya-based entrepreneur and African crypto leader explained that the continent lacked sufficient access to cryptocurrency. “One of the major issues in the region, in the continent, right now is liquidity and Binance will bring us liquidity,” he was quoted as saying.
Zhou says Binance plans to expand the subsidiary to other African countries like Kenya, Nigeria, or South Africa. Binance’s entry is reportedly attracting other global players into the African cryptocurrency space.
Kenyan Crypto Accelerator Propose Solar-Powered Crypto Mining
In Kenya, a cryptocurrency startup is working to debunk the widely held conception that cryptocurrency mining is injurious to the environment. John Karanja, Founder and CEO of Bithub Africa said his company is using solar energy in its cryptocurrency mining activities.
Karanja, who was interviewed by crypto news outlet Bitcoin.com said that they are accessing the viability of solar power as a source of energy for crypto mining after which it will influence other miners in the region to consider eco-friendly crypto mining. According to him, preliminary analyses have shown that solar has the potential to transform the crypto mining sector.
On a broader note, Bithub Africa aims to promote blockchain adoption in Africa through its blockchain accelerator program and other blockchain solutions.