Most millennials have their smartphone within easy reach to chat with friends and check their socials. For millennials and even younger generations in Africa, their smartphones are close to hand for another reason – it includes their bitcoin wallet. A bitcoin wallet is just like a bank account for bitcoin – but you are your own bank manager – and one of the biggest bitcoin wallet providers in the business, Luno, is based in Africa.
Yet, it is not just the ease of accessibility that is driving interest in Bitcoin throughout Africa. There are a number of other factors increasing interest, including: a money app culture, an alternative for unbanked populations, spreading internet access, the ability to receive money quicker and cheaper from families living in more economically advanced areas, and now – youth unemployment.
What Is Bitcoin Exactly?
Bitcoin is one form of cryptocurrency and the most valuable one to date. It is a digital currency that can be traded, and with each trade, the payment is recorded on the public blockchain. Bitcoin has helped people improve their wealth and become investors. It is also known to be volatile and its value can change dramatically.
In Africa, some fiat currencies can be just or even more volatile than bitcoin, especially in areas suffering from hyperinflation or economic sanctions from other countries. This has made it more appealing and even considered as a safe haven to protect wealth.
Unemployment and Crypto Education
Africa has high unemployment rates, and even in African countries that are more economically stable such as South Africa, the unemployment rate remains substantially high at over 50%. The lack of opportunities has made some blockchain and crypto companies rally to educate African youth about the opportunities in fintech and cryptocurrency. By equipping young people with knowledge and crypto-based skills, it could lead to more employment opportunities and even entrepreneurship.
To date, workshops have been delivered in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya with more workshops planned in other African countries next year.
Crypto Entrepreneurs in Africa
This education can go some way in helping the youth to start trading crypto or start up their own businesses without the need to be accepted by banks. For example, Africans can use Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to raise money for their startup with complete knowledge of the process. This would not be possible if the education around cryptos and blockchains was not being offered.
Knowledge of smart contracts will also allow young entrepreneurs to secure more deals and partners in other African countries and further afield. Without knowledge of either of these things, Africans may not have been equipped to start a business or grow it with suppliers from afar. This is even more true if they do not have the capacity to own a bank account, secure a bank loan or prove their credit history.
Youth unemployment in Africa may not be corrected through crypto and crypto education, but it can go some way to helping these generations to get back into work, start businesses or trade successfully.