Kenya is well known as one of the countries that has been trading high volumes of the cryptocurrency (crypto) Bitcoin in Africa. During the 2017 crypto hyper wave, crypto, specifically Bitcoin, was the talk of town.
In fact, according to recent statistics, 2.3 percent of Kenya’s GDP is held in Bitcoin!
We do not want to delve deep into explaining what cryptocurrencies are but here is something you need to know in light of these recent developments.
Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that have the following features:
- Decentralized: Cryptocurrencies do not have a central point of control. They are ran and owned by the community.
- Peer to peer: Cryptos are easy to transfer from one person to another in any part of the world.
- Fast transactions: Unlike bank transfers which may take days, cryptos take a few seconds or minutes utmost. The transaction speed varies among different cryptocurrencies.
- Cheap: Believe it or not, but you can now send your millions of dollars to any part of the world at a cost of only a few cents.
These features, not mentioning blockchain, are some of the reasons why cryptocurrencies have gained a lot of traction over the past few years. Banks, including Central Banks around the world, are also getting wary of cryptos since they are difficult to regulate.
Having this in mind, you must be wondering:-
How Do I Buy Cryptocurrencies in Kenya?
As much as many of you have heard of the term cryptocurrencies or bitcoin, not many people seem to understand it. I have been asked, not once,
“How do I Join?”
Well this is not something you join like Public Likes or Bold Cashers.
Nuh! So here is what you need.
Investing in cryptocurrencies doesn’t require having overly huge amounts of cash. The good thing is you can buy cryptos with as little as $1.
Cryptocurrencies, like we said, are digital currencies which have monetary value.
So ‘to get started,’ you will need to buy or exchange your money for cryptocurrencies.
For example at the time of this writing, ADA Cardano coin goes for $0.043046 per coin, so to purchase say 100 ADA Cardano coins you will need $4.3046, which, when translated, comes to about Kshs. 450.
To check the latest cryptocurrency prices, see our crypto tracker located on the sidebar above this page or visit CoinMarketCap for a detailed view of all listed cryptocurrencies globally.
NB: Remember, never invest what you cannot afford to lose. This is an investment that comes with risks just like any other investment out there.
If you do not have capital however, this should not lock you out from getting some cryptocurrencies. Take a look at How Can You Earn Free Cryptocurrencies as well.
You need to have a digital purse where you can keep your digital currencies. The purse/ wallet comes with send, receive and back up options.
To receive funds on, say your ADA wallet, you will have to provide the sender with your wallet address, which acts like your bank account number, or as a mobile number for your MPESA or mobile money.
In your wallet, you will also find the backup option. It is advisable to back up your wallet’s private and public keys in a secure offline location, probably on paper or on a flash disk. You wouldn’t want to be the guy who lost access to his or her crypto wallet that had a total savings of a million dollars in the year 2025. With crypto anything is possible, I have seen it happen. So be vigilante and take care of your investment.
An exchange is an online platform where buyers and sellers of digital currencies exchange hands without necessarily having to meet each other. There are different types of exchanges available to a Kenyan looking to invest in cryptocurrencies.
- Merchant Exchanges
The three most popular points of buying cryptocurrencies directly with MPESA are:
- Paxful: This is one of the most popular exchanges for purchasing Bitcoin in Kenya. It enables anyone to sign up, buy, sell, and trade Bitcoin, including via MPESA. The registration process is smooth and only takes a few seconds to get started. This is the best recommended exchange for purchasing crypto in Kenya due to the customer support and community already in Kenya and across Africa.
- Localbitcoins: This exchange deals only on Bitcoin. To get started, sign up here, activate your account via the link sent to your sign up email, sign in, and ensure that you keep your paper wallet safe. Once this is done, navigate to buy or sell bitcoin and search for a suitable merchant for you. Make sure that you check on the merchants profile before trading.
- Localethereum: This exchange deals only on Ethereum. To get started, sign up here. On this platform, there are buyers and sellers of the popular cryptocurrency, Ether, who are always willing to exchange cryptos for cash and vice versa. Through the help of escrow, a third part program, one can send funds to the seller without worrying that he or she will run away with his funds. It is important however, to view a merchant’s performance and trading history on the platform so as to be on the safe side.
On the above two platforms, you will notice that merchants sell cryptocurrencies at a relatively higher rate than the market price, and they also tend to buy at market price or at a lower rate than the market price.
Another option however exists that allows you to purchase cryptocurrencies at the market rate.
Exchanges are online platforms that bring buyers and sellers together by matching their orders to execute trades. Buyers and sellers exchange cryptocurrencies from one another.
A buyer puts up his buying price order and the seller puts up his selling price order. Once the orders match, the exchange automatically occurs. It is advisable to start off on an exchange that has trade high volumes. One of these exchanges, that also happens to be available to Kenyans is the Binance Exchange which recently set up operations in Uganda.
This becomes very easy to exchange one cryptocurrency for another. For as long as you have one crypto that is being traded on the exchanges, you can exchange it for another.
For instance on the Bitcoin market, pair Bitcoin/ ADA, you can easily put a buy order to buy Bitcoin with ada or buy ADA with Bitcoin.
Trading exchanges have wallets in them making it super easy to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies. These wallets do not have private and public keys making them unsafe to hodl (hold) your cryptocurrencies in them. Exchanges are known to get hacked all the time.
Like we mentioned, one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges with high trading volumes is Binance. You can sign up on binance here.
Other exchanges where a Kenyan can easily open an account and start trading include:
KuBitX – The first African exchange by Africans
PesaMill – An African exchange that is looking to eventually list African coins.
Here is a recap:
- Get a wallet
- Backup your wallet
- Buy Bitcoin or Ethereum
- Register on a trading exchange
- Secure your trading exchange account
- Deposit Bitcoin or Ethereum, exchange bitcoin or Ethereum to your desired coin
- Withdraw back to the specific coin wallet address
- Keep your account safe.