Another eventful week for the global crypto market worldwide and we are here to share its highlights with you. In this week’s news digest, we go from controversial Russia aiming to strengthen its bonds with African nations via crypto adoption to a cool NFT-based wine auction happening in South Africa that is showing that this technology is here to stay. In Africa, every week, there are a lot of surprises emerging from the crypto industry, let’s take a look at the trending ones in the past few days.
This week’s spotlight is on Nigeria, which keeps growing its number of citizens engaging with the crypto market and trading crypto-related assets. An official report issued this week showed that almost 34 million Nigerian citizens are already making crypto-based transactions part of their lives, and the massive number catches attention because it challenges the latest background of crypto evolution in the country. It has been over a year since the Central Bank of Nigeria banned financial institutions and banks from facilitating crypto exchanges in Nigeria, but the country still records high demand for crypto alternatives and information.
In 2021, Nigeria was a recurring name in the searches for bitcoin platforms on Google, which signaled that many Nigerian youngsters are inclined to learn more about crypto-technology and walk in this direction. The number of citizens who currently have access to crypto assets in the country is almost 35% of its entire population.
The impressive rate caught the attention of other related platforms that have looked into the details of the recent report. According to Africa Business Insider, the Nigerian youth plays a decisive role in this growing scenario, and it is behind the surging curve. 70% of the crypto-engaged Nigerians have the intention to keep investing and growing their e-wallet and almost 10% of the remaining group claims to have an interest in starting their ventures in the market, which is likely to strengthen Nigeria’s crypto adoption process even further. Furthermore, more than half of these investors are already allocating at least 50% of their assets in crypto form via fiat deposits.
Considering that the Nigerian Naira - the country’s official currency - has kept devaluating over the years and has experienced considerable downfalls (that reached more than 200% in some periods) since 2016, the growing interest in crypto is justifiable. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened the challenging economic scenario, so Nigerians are looking for more solid and safe financial solutions and stable sources of profit, which has put the country as the 6th leading nation in cryptocurrency adoption.
Cryptocurrencies have different impacts in various African regions, and the adoption of this technology is directly linked to a country’s background. In South Africa, for instance, where the path is already well-paved, specialists are already exploring the possibility of implementing a pan-Africa cryptocurrency to integrate the capital market. This year’s African Economic Conference, organized by the African Development Bank and the UN Development Programme in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa, focused on the growth of African financial and funding resources. The pan-African crypto possibility was a recurrent discussion during the event. The conference hosted researchers and institutions of the financial sector and gathered policymakers and stakeholders that fully engaged in the discussion around this possibility.
During the event, experts discussed how an integrated capital market and standardized crypto could strengthen the growth of the African economy, especially after a long moment of crisis after the COVID-19 pandemic. Other important topics discussed during the event included the responsibilities of central banks in promoting continent-wide development and the various national priorities that require immediate attention before it is possible to create a valid protocol for the entire continent. Many participants shared their concerns about the overall scenario in the country and the lack of structure to take bigger steps. Although a reform in Africa’s financial system may bring many benefits and reduce costs for stakeholders, at a continental level, Africa still has to develop expertise in some related fields to sustain such groundbreaking changes.
Africa is indeed becoming a more present name in international negotiations and strategies, and, as the African market keeps upgrading, other countries are adjusting to look at the region more closely. The Russian Chamber of Commerce has shown interest in strengthening its cooperation with African nations and boost its economic relations with different countries inside the continent. Due to its controversial position amid the conflict with Ukraine, Russia had its international trading possibilities greatly diminished and is looking for alternatives and new partners.
Russia’s prime minister proposed using of cryptocurrencies in cross-border transactions and potential financial agreements between Russia and African economies. Furthermore, the upgrading proposal also involved the creation of new funds used for the expansion of Russian enterprises to Africa to expand trading zones and missions. Russia has to find its way back to a solid position in the global economy, and cryptocurrencies seem like a great alternative to start this path.
Last but not least, it’s Friday, so allow us to touch on the topic! Until April 25th, the South African auction house Strauss & Co is holding an NFT-based auction offering rare…wines! We have been looking closely into the power of NFTs in this era, but we definitely did not see this coming.
Strauss & Co established a partnership with the top five wine producers in South Africa to organize the continent’s first wine NFT auction. It works like this: each ownership of fine wine is represented by an NFT and can be relatable to the name, cellar, or vintage of that particular bottle. NFT technology adds a new dynamic to this type of event and bet placers to hold the rights of a valuable bottle even before it is aged enough to leave the cellar. What an event! We are looking forward to seeing what other cool industries will open doors to NFTs to make a change.