The number of cryptocurrency holders in Kenya is more than 4 million holders. Holders range from students, informal sector employees and blue-collar workers. What could have attributed to this growth, considering the central bank of Kenya continues to issue warnings against the use and acceptance of cryptocurrency? In this article, we will seek to establish opportunities to attract tech-savvy Kenyans to hold cryptocurrency.
By definition, cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency secured by cryptography. Cryptocurrencies are based on blockchain technology and are decentralised. This is a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. This makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. Examples of Cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Lite coin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, USDT, and Z-cash, just to mention a few.
Uses of cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrencies in Kenya are not regulated, and the Central Bank of Kenya issued an advisory against the use and transactions of the same. However, this has not deterred Kenyans from using cryptocurrencies for everyday transactions. Below are some of the uses of Cryptocurrencies:
- Carry out international transactions, either remittances or commercial use, with clients in Europe and America.
- Potential donors can send donations in real-time, such as what is happening in Ukraine and Russia.
- Offers low cost on cross-border transactions.
- Remote workers offer a way to pay salaries and wages.
Why Kenyans are holding crypto
In Kenya, most Kenyans are holding cryptocurrencies for the following reasons:
- Gaming –cryptocurrencies are used to place bets or purchase games on online platforms.
- To purchase digital assets. Such as websites and domains, applications and online platforms, and until most recently, art and music. The main reason people prefer digital assets is that there is a minimum capital required. They are not location-oriented, and there is a global market for purchased goods.
- As the inheritance of their children and future generations, with assets such as land becoming expensive to acquire and other traditional assets diminishing in value, most tech-savvy Kenyans are investing in cryptocurrencies for future generations.
- For payment of luxury goods and hotels. Which otherwise would cost more if paid in traditional currencies.
- Because of its security features, cryptocurrency offers the safest way to store money without fear of theft or loss.
The disadvantage of cryptocurrencies
What are the disadvantages of cryptocurrencies, and why is Kenya’s central bank issuing an advisory against their use and transactions?
- Crypto prices are unstable and can be highly unpredictable.
- Cryptocurrencies are digital assets which means that people are prone to forget passwords.
- Cryptocurrencies depend on the internet.
- Cryptocurrencies depend on peer-to-peer and blockchain technology, which is difficult to learn. Hence it limits the number of users.
- To trade in cryptocurrencies requires a person to have access to P2P platforms. The platforms have verification requirements that might discourage or eliminate potential investors.
- There is the risk of losing money if someone makes a mistake and sends the money to the wrong digital account.
- The different coins need to be researched as to how they can work in the African environment.
Future of cryptocurrencies in Kenya
Cryptocurrencies and digital coins are the future of money in Kenya. When we think about the future of the Kenyan economy:
- We think of a cashless economy.
- Very few human touch points in retail sales.
- E-commerce systems with multiple payment systems.
- We also think of fast transfer of money and quick turn-around time of receiving services.
- There needs to have innovation hubs and workshops. This is where different software engineers can research and innovate coins in Africa.
There is a need for the government to intervene to ensure that the economy can freely run on cryptocurrencies. It needs to develop policies and laws to safeguard its citizens from cyber criminals and scamming agencies. There is a need to encourage citizens to invest in cryptocurrencies to grow their interest and diversify future investments. The government should create labs and develop a curriculum to train its citizens on using cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies require reliable electricity and internet supply, so the government should license more providers.
Cryptocurrencies are the future currency. As Africans, we cannot ignore the impact of cryptocurrencies on our economies and their inevitable change. The government should ensure that policies protect citizens against cyber crimes and provide research money. It should also build innovation hubs to develop crypto coins and peer-to-peer systems.