Bitcoin use is gaining steam in Africa, saving people money everywhere. The popularity of the currency has gained the attention of users and government officials. Exchanges and brokerage services for the virtual currency are appearing quite a bit in the large continent, making advances towards the $40 billion USD per year remittance economy. Yet, just as in Australia the central banking cartel is not pleased. The banking industry in Africa is using the pretense of protectionism towards money laundering and terrorism as their “solid” argument for the regulation of Bitcoin.
With a noticeable injection of digital currency providers working to solve the remittance problem in Africa, the Central Bank of Nigeria has been alluding to regulating bitcoin in the country. The deputy governor of the Financial System Stability unit, Joseph Nnanna, recently told a crowd that regulation is needed for the virtual currency — implying money laundering and terrorist financing as chief concerns.
It would be hard for the banks to not notice the wealth being taken from their industry. The Bitcoin exchange Igot, which launched early this year, has already recorded 200,000 transactions. In Nigeria, leather outlet site Minku now accepts bitcoins; this is huge for Bitcoin, as the leather trade is a huge economy in the region. The South African bitcoin exchange BitX has merged prepaid Mastercards with bitcoin to also work towards the large economy of remittance transactions.
Western Union and MoneyGram drain the wealth of the average African living in the diaspora. The corporate giants rake in over 12% profits from just $200 USD sent and received by many living throughout the land. Many also feel Bitcoin is the solution to the long waiting periods it takes to settle these payments. Timothy Stranex, CEO of BitX, sees the virtual money having big impacts on these processing giants. Stranex told press:
“International wire transfers take several days to settle because they are processed using legacy batch systems. In contrast, Bitcoin payments are fully settled within minutes. This enables much faster international payments. Existing remittance companies can use this technology to streamline their backend operations and save costs by maintaining less float,”
— Timothy Stranex, BitX
Victor Munis of TRPLAW in Nigeria, which handles international law and arbitration, told ITworld: “Bitcoins are becoming increasingly popular.” Despite this happening Munis describes that even though there is great popularity, the South African Reserve Bank and its financial colleagues currently won’t work with bitcoin users. He feels that the “situation may change in the future due to increasing use,” due to the surge of use in Africa. Munis told ITworld:
“A good number of Nigerians are using bitcoins for their day-to-day transactions. Private companies sell bitcoins to interested persons. Retailers are beginning to accept bitcoins as payment for goods and services.” — Victor Munis, TRPLAW
The question remains, will the banks work with the disruptors or be disrupted themselves? Bitcoin is trending in African economies and is eating through the mountains of greedy surpluses wielded by corporate giants. MoneyGram and Western Union should consider throwing up the white flag in the near future. The seeds of cryptocurrency have been dropped on the land of Africa, and the idea of Bitcoin is about to flourish and outgrow the previous system of financial tyranny.
Do you think African Central Banks are threatened by these financial disruptions? Let us know in the comments below!
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