The reports published by media outlets, especially when it comes to bitcoin and its adoption in African nations seems to be a bit far fetched. It is alleged that the ground reality is far off from the portrayal of bitcoin adoption in these African nations. Kenya, said to be first of the countries in the region to adopt bitcoin based services is not doing great at the moment.
According to a report carried by Motherboard, a couple of writers on a trip to Kenya to check upon the progress of bitcoin adoption in the region were taken by surprise after seeing the ground reality. We have come across multiple articles on various publications where businesses in Kenya that accept bitcoin payments are mentioned. However, these two writers – JP Lawrence and Daniel Nyairo have a different story to tell. According to them, most of the businesses claimed to accept bitcoin payments in the region simply do not. Most of them have not heard about the digital currency.
It is not just the merchants, even the startups that are working in this segment are faced with lost of issues. While there are plenty of startups trying to capture the nascent bitcoin market in the region, no one has been able to come up with that perfect formula to increase its adoption. On one side, the number of bitcoin technology based startups are increasing but at the same time, a significant number of established startups are either shutting down or pivoting towards better and more sustainable business models.
Bitcoin is already proven to reduce the time and costs associated with cross border fund transfer and remittances.But, it is not an universally viable alternative, especially in places like Kenya. Even though Kenya already has multiple startups addressing the market, the number of takers for such services is very less. Also, with bitcoin transactions not crossing beyond 50 BTCs per week, it is hard to exchange bitcoin to fiat currency or find places where one can spend bitcoin directly. This makes bitcoin based remittance more costlier than conventional methods in few regions.
The African Bitcoin scenario definitely has room for improvement and in due course it will improve. However, it is going to take a while before the people get there.