Over the course of 2014, we have seen several startup companies working hard to bring the concept of Bitcoin and digital currency to Africa, where the market is dominated by remittance services such as Western Union. As most people in Africa don’t have access to a bank account, it is an ideal breeding ground for the ever popular digital currency. And from the looks of things, Bitcoin interest in Africa is on the rise.
Bitcoin Africa Conference
The first ever Bitcoin conference on the African conference has been penciled in and will take place between April 16 & 17 in Cape Town, South Africa. Besides bringing people who want to further the Bitcoin progress in Africa further, the conference will also focus on the education people about Bitcoin, and more importantly, Bitcoin in Africa.
During the Bitcoin Africa Conference, merchants; investors; venture capitalists; start-ups and Bitcoin enthusiasts from around the globe will be present. Several speakers have been confirmed so far, including Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO & Co-Founder of BitPesa, and Jonathan Smit, Managing Director & Founder of PayFast.
Note from the author : We will be in touch with several people who will speak or attend this conference, and try to get some exclusive interviews on this website in the near future.
The Bitcoin Africa Conference will take place at the Atlantic Imbizo Conference & Function Studio, located at The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. No information in regards to ticket price has been announced just yet, but we will keep an eye out for an official update from the people organizing the conference.
Second note from the author : We are currently in talks with the organizers in order to become a media sponsor for the conference. More information about sponsoring this event can be found here : http://bitcoinconference.co.za/#sponsors
Bitcoin ATM in South Africa
It is no surprise to see the first ever Bitcoin conference being held in South Africa, as that is also the only location in Africa where you can find a Bitcoin ATM. As we discussed in our Bitcoin ATM deployment article a few days ago, most devices are located in areas where people have access to bank accounts, credit cards and so forth, which may not be ideal markets to massively promote Bitcoin right now.
However, contrary to what most people would expect, the Lamassu Bitcoin ATM is not located in Cape Town, Johannesburg or Pretoria. Instead, the Lamassu Bitcoin ATM is located in Midrand. It is also interesting to note this device only lets users buy Bitcoin in exchange for fiat currency, and does not work as a two-way machine.
Furthermore, Midrand’s Bitcoin ATM is located inside a shop, which means it is not accessible 24/7 either. Opening hours are Mon-Sat: 07:00 – 18:00 and Sun: 07:00 – 16:00. Plenty of time for Bitcoin enthusiasts to purchase some coins if they feel the need to though! You can find out more information about this Lamassu Bitcoin ATM here.
ICE3X Opens Up Bitcoin Trading in Nigeria
ICE3X is a South African-based Bitcoin exchange, which recently launched Bitcoin trading in Nigeria thanks to their exclusive partnership with VoguePay. Africa’s most populous country can now buy and sell Bitcoin in exchange for their local currency, directly from existing VoguePay wallets. Furthermore, merchants services are expected to be released in the near future as well.
Nigeria is a booming country when looking at the number of mobile internet subscriptions, as over 48 million active subscriptions were recorded in 2013. According to analysts, that number is nearing the 50 million mark already, and will surpass that number during the course of 2015. Needless to say, this is a massive untapped market for digital currencies.
However, Nigeria does not the have the best of reputation when it comes to finances. Nearly everyone has seen or heard about the 419 scam, which is synonymous with the country’s name. Whether or not Bitcoin will become a part of these kind of scam attempts remains to be seen, but that shouldn’t be of much concern, as these scams operate fine when fiat currency is involved.
Bitcoin is a perfect competitor for Africa’s remittance markets dominance. Due to very fast transactions, very low to no transaction costs, and the fact that it works across borders without issues, Bitcoin adoption and awareness will benefit from all of the above. However, there is still a long way to go if we want to make Bitcoin a mainstream currency in the African continent.
What are your thoughts or suggestions on making Bitcoin “bigger and better” in Africa? Leave a comment below!