REALITY CHECK: Why Cryptocurrency Trading Remains the Force Behind Africa’s Crypto Evolution

As Africa continues to embrace cryptocurrencies, trading stands out as the catalyst that continues to ignite interest, expertise, and practical use cases. The expert's journey, rooted in the early days of the Kenyan crypto ecosystem, underscores the significance of trading in shaping the industry.

In the landscape of cryptocurrency adoption in Kenya and Africa, trading stands tall as the driving force propelling the industry forward.

With insights from a seasoned expert who has witnessed Kenya’s crypto evolution firsthand, this article delves into the significance of trading, exploring why it remains the powerhouse behind the crypto movement in the region, and by extension, the entire African continent.

Drawing from the extensive experience of our expert who has spent eight years navigating the crypto domain, we gain a firsthand perspective on the role of trading. Having worked with the first exchange in Kenya, BitPesa (Now AZA Finance), this expert provides valuable insights into the evolution of crypto trading in the country.

Before the surge of interest in cryptocurrencies, trading was the genesis of crypto adoption in Kenya. Long before DeFi and dApps became buzzwords, traders were the pioneers who paved the way for crypto to take root.

The early years saw traders seeking arbitrage opportunities and exploring the volatile market to turn profits and it remains the same to this day.


1.) The Role of Scams and Expertise

As highlighted, scams played an unexpected role in shaping Kenya’s crypto ecosystem. Nonetheless, individuals who encountered scams were thrust into the world of trading as a means to recover their losses or navigate the space more cautiously.

This inadvertently led to the cultivation of a knowledgeable group of traders, transforming them into experts who could make informed decisions amid the risks.


2.) Cryptocurrency Trading: A Real-World Use Case

Unlike many innovative technologies that struggle to find practical applications, trading has emerged as a tangible use case for cryptocurrency adoption in Kenya. Trading provides immediate value to individuals seeking financial gains, and this tangible incentive has been a driving factor for adoption.

The ability to potentially earn significant returns has attracted a diverse group of individuals, transcending the barriers of technical jargon.


3.) Financial Empowerment Amid Economic Challenges

One of the underlying reasons why trading has become a dominant force in Africa’s crypto landscape is the region’s unique economic challenges.

Cryptocurrencies offer an alternative avenue for financial empowerment and economic stability, which resonates deeply in a continent grappling with traditional financial hurdles.

The potential for profit has sparked a surge of interest, especially in regions where traditional investment avenues are limited.


Despite African currencies’ continuing to lose their value when compared to the US dollar driving some level of adoption, trading dominates adoption by a huge magnitude. A recent survey by Chapter54, an African tech advisory by Partech Ventures, reveals this fact.

According to the survey, the main motivation for cryptocurrency use in Nigeria and other African markets is to generate income (~40) while the second motive is to hedge against Naira’s volatility (24%).

Certain challenges have persisted since the pioneering days in 2015 to date.  As the expert indicates:


“At BitPesa, we tried to make cross-border payments faster and cheaper, but on-ramping and off-ramping (moving money to and from the traditional banking system) became an expensive issue.”


While acknowledging a more open government stance to cryptocurrencies, recent events such as the clampdown on WorldCoin show that the government does not support cryptocurrencies.


“Don’t be fooled into thinking Kenyan banks allow crypto companies to bank with them. They don’t.”


As Africa continues to embrace cryptocurrencies, trading stands out as the catalyst that ignited interest, expertise, and practical use cases. The expert’s journey, rooted in the early days of the Kenyan crypto ecosystem, underscores the significance of trading in shaping the industry.


“There is nothing wrong with being in crypto for the trading aspect of it. And there is nothing wrong with being in Web3 to build on it. Just different sides of the coin,” she says.




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