Cryptocurrencies have been one of the most polarizing concepts of this century, and the divide seems to be growing day by day. With traditionalists like Warren Buffett and other established names criticizing Bitcoin, modern entrepreneurs, especially from the technology space, like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, have come out openly in its support. Among all the supporters from the mainstream, one name that has continuously been vocal about crypto, and who is also taking giant strides to spread Bitcoin awareness is Jack Dorsey, the founder of micro-blogging platform Twitter and finance firm Square.
Dorsey has always been supportive of cryptocurrencies, though he made it very clear that he will never be involved in creating a Bitcoin rival, unlike Zuckerberg, who created Libra. However, what he does believe is that Bitcoin will become the native currency of the internet, and this is nothing less than hope for the crypto space.
However, Twitter CEO made a recent revelation that Africa is the future of Bitcoin, and his statement cannot be far from the truth. Several surveys have shown a trend that the demand for crypto is much more in underdeveloped regions where there’s a lack of banking infrastructure. Also, there have been several examples that clearly show that Bitcoin has been more useful in countries with economic instability than first world countries.
Dorsey seemed to be quite impressed with the potential lying in Africa and had been visiting a few African countries like Nigeria and Ethiopia. He continuously posted pictures with technology developers, crypto-blockchain entrepreneurs, and several other professionals from the region, and stated that Africa is the future of Bitcoin. In a recent tweet, he informed that he would stay in the continent for 3-6 months in 2020, without specifying any particular country.
Sad to be leaving the continent…for now. Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). Not sure where yet, but I’ll be living here for 3-6 months mid 2020. Grateful I was able to experience a small part. 🌍 pic.twitter.com/9VqgbhCXWd
— jack 🌍🌏🌎 (@jack) November 27, 2019
Can Bitcoin really be a success in Africa?
Africa is one of the world’s most unstable regions, socioeconomically. Several countries in the region are facing hyperinflation, and that has caused severe loss of wealth for the common. A similar kind of situation is being experienced in Venezuela, the troubled nation on which the United States has imposed sanctions. However, when hyperinflation gripped the country, several people resorted to the use of Bitcoin, which helped them secure and stabilize their wealth, and bypass the sanctions. Several people who had access to cheap electricity took up Bitcoin mining and managed to earn their daily bread at stable prices. A similar model can be adapted in Africa as well, which would make Bitcoin a much-needed solution for the people.
Then there’s the scope to bring the unbanked population in the mainstream. The majority of the African people face a lack of a formidable banking structure, and Bitcoin is an answer to it. Merchant payments and money transfers from one place to another can ease a lot of problems for Africans living in foreign countries, who frequently send money back home.
In terms of infrastructure, the region is witnessing a technology boom, with South Africa and Nigeria leading the way. The current number of 618 technology hubs across the continent is over a 40% bump from 2018, which speaks volumes about the potential growth in the fintech sector. On his recent visit, Dorsey himself met several crypto-blockchain entrepreneurs in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Nigeria, and seemed to be quite positive about the growth of the decentralized economy in the continent.
Likewise, many leading companies, including the likes of Binance and TRON, are taking steps towards transformation in the region. Major technology leader IBM, too, was reported in March earlier this year, for developing blockchain-based solutions to tackle the evil of counterfeit medicine in Africa, which shows that decentralization is steadily becoming mainstream. All of this indicates that Bitcoin will have a powerful infrastructure, which will enable rapid growth and expansion.
Bitcoin as a Native Currency for the Internet
Jack Dorsey is one of the strong proponents of making Bitcoin the native currency of the internet, and has reiterated his statement on various occasions. Whether the apex crypto is capable enough or not is still an unanswered question, though there are a lot of positives to keep the hope alive.
For instance, there are browsers that are now working towards integrating crypto-blockchain on their platforms, towards facilitating decentralized payments. One such browser is Brave, which rewards its users for the time they spend watching ads. Similarly, several e-commerce platforms across the globe are now accepting Bitcoin as a valid payment mode, and with the internet becoming more and more accessible in emerging markets like India, Africa, and South America, the scope of people using crypto online has widened exponentially.
However, there are several aspects that will keep the users quite doubtful, and one of them is cyber-security. Crypto users around the world lose billions of dollars in crypto frauds and the problems don’t seem to stop. That said, most of the crypto frauds are due to a lack of awareness about crypto, and that’s an issue that can be fixed sooner or later. The problem becomes bigger when major crypto exchanges are attacked, and within minutes millions of dollars are gone.
If Bitcoin becomes a native currency for the Internet, the majority of the transactions will take place with BTC, and that would only increase the risk of fraud. Secondly, Bitcoin is not stable; at least it hasn’t been in the last 24 months. From being around $19,500 in December 2017 to falling down to around $3,500 in February 2019, then rising to $13,500 in July, and currently being around $7,300 is anything but stable, no matter what the supporters say.
So can Bitcoin be the native currency of the internet? Not at this moment, but certainly in the foreseeable future.
Is Bitcoin Ready for Emerging Markets like Africa, and the Internet?
To make things very clear, Bitcoin doesn’t seem to be completely ready, but it definitely will be ready sooner than most can expect. In a recent interview, Dorsey said,
“I haven’t seen any other currency that would challenge [Bitcoin] across the dimensions that I think are really important. First, I think it has an amazing brand. The other thing that I think makes it probably the strongest candidate is that the principles behind it are very pure. The creation of it was very pure, and focused on a public good, rather than any other particular agenda. The fact that it’s meant to be deflationary, meant to incentivize savings instead of spending, I think is a net positive for the world and how we think about consuming.
It’s 10 years old now, so it’s been tested over those 10 years, across every dimension from security threats, to governments, to forks, to agendas from miners, to nefarious nation-states, and it’s been resilient to all those threats and challenges. And resilience is very valuable. There could be an upstart cryptocurrency that could challenge it, but it doesn’t have those tests and that memory of those challenges built into it.”
So it is pretty evident if there’s any crypto that could possibly be adopted by an entire continent, and the entire Internet community, it has to be Bitcoin, and there are no two ways about it. Many influential people of the crypto industry have stated time and again that investing in any token other than Bitcoin is stupidity, and that the apex token is the only true decentralized currency. Some have even said that Bitcoin can be the true store of value, while other tokens will be for utility only. This itself can make Bitcoin a huge success in Africa.