Monthly cryptocurrency transfers to and from Africa of under $10,000 – typically made by individuals and small businesses – jumped more than 55% in a year to reach $316 million in June, the data from U.S. blockchain research firm Chainalysis shows. The number of monthly transfers also rose by almost half, surpassing 600,700, according to Chainalysis, which says the research is the most comprehensive effort yet to map out global crypto use. Much of the activity took place in Nigeria, the continent’s biggest economy, along with South Africa and Kenya. This represents a reversal for bitcoin which, despite its birth as a payments tool over a decade ago, has mainly been used for speculation by financial traders rather than for commerce. Why a boom in Africa? Young, tech-savvy populations that have adapted quickly to bitcoin; weaker local currencies that make it harder to get dollars, the de facto currency of global trade; and complex bureaucracy that complicates money transfers. The bitcoin users said the cryptocurrency was helping people make their businesses nimbler and more profitable, and helping those working in places like Europe and North America hang on to more of the earnings they send home.
SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES