In the early 80s and 90s, the definition of a white-collar job was a job for professionals who worked behind an office desk or did Managerial or Administrative work in a formal office setting. These jobs were reserved for specific individuals, and to secure one meant your status in the community changed. The individual was assured of a pension and other benefits for the family. A lot has changed in recent years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 mitigating measures enforced by the government re-defined business and resulted in most companies sending staff to work from home, with only critical staff allowed to work in offices.
This meant that the face of the office as we knew it changed, and offices became mobile and remote. Many companies had to re-introduced new employment terms for their staff and re-design their infrastructures to accommodate their remote working staff.
Kenyans and businesses came to terms with the remote working concept and the numerous challenges experienced whilst working remotely. Crypto traders were fascinated at how office workers handled the minor challenges experienced while transitioning to remote working. In this article, we will seek to understand cryptocurrency trading as a new white-collar job in Kenya, its challenges and the opportunities it offers.
Cryptocurrency trading can be defined as buying and selling virtual coins and exchanging one for another via digital online trading platforms. Crypto trading also involves speculating the future price movements within the market. The traders use fiat currency to buy crypto to start trading. As we explore crypto trading in Kenya, it’s important to point out that cryptocurrencies are not authorised for use by the Central Bank of Kenya and are not recognised as legal tender. Trading is solely done in an unregulated “alternative” market. However, Central Bank is in the advanced stages of researching a Central Bank Digital currency, a National Fiat.
Anyone interested in becoming a cryptocurrency trader should consider attending training in crypto and Forex trading sessions. The training session aims to ensure that the futures trader is not only able to trade but also profitably. The trainee is trained to trade on a live digital platform, calculate potential and non-potential risks and study price movement patterns. The sessions run for a maximum of 2 months and cost approximately USD400-500 (Ksh40,000 to 50,000ksh).
The trainers are trained on the job and have no licenses to prove their level of expertise. Secondly, the individual should have a starting capital of about USD100-500. This will ensure the individual has some cash to open an e-wallet and initiate trading. Some platforms require a minimum amount of USD100 to be in the E-wallet at any time. This amount is low and affordable compared to starting another business requiring higher capital and business operating permits. The low capital requirement has made crypto trading lucrative for many Kenyans, making them abandon their office jobs and opt to trade in cryptocurrencies. Thirdly, all trading platforms are digital, and individuals should have a steady and reliable internet provider to allow them to carry out their trades efficiently. Trading can be done on smart mobile phones, desktops and laptops. The availability and ability of systems to integrate with other platforms make them easy and reliable for individuals to use.
Fourthly, the individual should have a device that allows him to access the online trading platforms, and the device can be a mobile phone, a laptop or a desktop computer. Armed with the above four important items, namely, a device to access online platforms, capital of not less than USD100, and at least two months of training, any person can become an experienced crypto trader. Using the above characteristics, we can conclude that crypto trading is a white-collar job. The major characteristics of a white-collar job are high pay, highly specialised skills and requiring more training compared to blue-collar jobs that are physical and manual. The traders earn high returns as a result of the fluctuations in the prices of digital coins.
Secondly, to be a trader, one requires specialised skills to understand the market, know when to sell or buy cryptocurrencies, study the price patterns and understand which coins are worth more than -the other alter coins. But unlike white collar jobs where the different industries have rules and regulations, Crypto trading jobs have no rules or regulations. The industry is unregulated, and all traders are independent workers, i.e. not registered under any organisation and not constrained to work within contracts or rules. This makes it very dangerous as these workers are not protected by law, don’t enjoy fringe benefits and have to invest in their pensions.
In summary, crypto trading is slowly changing the job environment and becoming a white-collar job as the cryptocurrency space creates and offers more flexible employment opportunities. Kenyans are leaving their formal jobs, whether white or blue collar, searching for the high returns earned 24/7 in crypto trading. It is therefore important for the government to swiftly intervene and come up with ways in which the industry can be regulated and regularise the industry.
The Ministry of ICT and Infrastructure licenses more Internet providers and telecommunication companies, ensuring that Internet services are available. They also need to make it cheap for their citizens and accessible across the country. The government should authorise banks and other financial institutions through CBK to process Crypto Currency transactions and, lastly, through Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), incorporate Forex and Crypto Currency trading into the National education curriculum in tertiary institutions. This will present the graduates with extra skills to allow them to gain financial stability.