Compared to the West, Africa’s adoption of technological innovation has been quite slow. With most of the countries on the continent still developing and a large percentage of its citizens battling to acquire essential needs like food and shelter, the infrastructure for technology adoption or innovation is not on the radar.
Although Africa’s strides in technology are still behind those of its Western counterparts, they are, nonetheless, significant strides.
Blockchain is one area where significant strides are being made. The technology has gained so much traction on the continent. The emergence of companies making the best of the technology shows blockchain might just be here to stay
The technology could put Africa at the forefront of technology advancements. Some think Africa might just hold the key to the ultimate adoption of blockchain.
In the words of Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, “Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!)”
Africa accounts for 14% of peer to peer trading on LocalBitcoins’ and Paxful’s platforms. Trading on both platforms has surpassed $10 million weekly.
Blockchain is, however, not an absolutely foolproof plan to get Africa into the technological limelight. Although disruptive technology is getting enough traction, there are still obstacles in the way. These challenges pose a real threat to Africa’s adoption of blockchain to solve shortcomings in finance, education, and even governance.
Inadequate internet coverage, competition from mobile money services, poor electricity, and resistance from the government, are a few of the most prevalent challenges.
In spite of these monumental challenges, some companies are steadily bypassing the obstacles.
In no particular order, Here’s 10 blockchain startups to look out for in Africa:
Launched early 2019, BitLipa has seen a surge in application downloads. At 2800 active daily users, BitLipa is doing its part in helping bitcoin technology thrive.
Bitcoin and Ethereum are the only currencies used on the platform, but the company plans to incorporate more in subsequent years. Users can convert their fiat currency into crypto, and transfer to the recipient, all within the application.
According to the company’s co-founder, Eric Apollo, the company’s goal is to reach 1 million users in subsequent years.
According to Eric, “The gap we spotted in the market was the lack of a practical use-case of blockchain technology that ordinary people could relate to,”
With a platform so inclusive, simple, and easy to navigate, BitLipa might be one of the platforms to bring the blockchain future to life.
Bundle Africa, a platform for cash and crypto payments, which was launched in April 2020. The company gives crypto and cash exchange a very social feel. The app allows users to send, request, and receive cash or crypto, and there’s also an option to add emojis to the memo.
In the words of its founder, Yele Bademosi, “We built Bundle with the digitally native African user in mind.” Yele adds that Bundle will make crypto feel like a normal digital transaction.
Though a blockchain startup, Sun Exchange is making waves in a pretty unusual place to find blockchain technology.
Sun Exchange is using blockchain to help people invest in renewable energy. Anyone from anywhere in the world, can invest in solar projects in South Africa using Bitcoin.
The uniqueness of this startup is not only in the fact that it encourages investment in renewable energy, but the fact that it uses blockchain to create a positive impact on the climate. Global Warming is a real issue and Sun Exchange is helping to solve this problem in its own unique way. Investments are primarily focused on solar projects in South Africa, but the startup hopes to expand to other African countries.
With an average of 20,000 users a month and a trading volume of $20 million monthly, Yellow Card, is a very growing cryptocurrency exchange with operations in Nigeria, South Africa, and Botswana. Founded in 2016, one of its major advantages is that it offers multiple payment options. With low trading fees incorporated into transaction prices, and competitive rates.
In the words of the YellowCard, CEO, Chris Maurice, “There’s no better place for bitcoin to thrive than Africa,”
BitSika Africa, seeks to alleviate the nightmare of cross-border payments, by providing a platform that let users send and receive money from anyone, anywhere. Incubated by global cryptocurrency exchange Binance and Microtraction, an early stage VC firm, the Ghanian based startup also offer virtual Visa card to its users and is currently supports the Ghanian Cedis and Nigerian naira.
Founded in 2018, the Blockchain start-up is aimed targeted at reducing reliance on traditional financial systems, and reducing the cost of money transfers between different African currencies.
BinKabi, a fintech startup, is infusing blockchain into agriculture. Agrifood traders can use the Binkabi token, which is blockchain-based, to settle payment issues with farmers. Farmers, in turn, receive a fair amount of their produce. The startup also allows farmers to get loans based on the transactions recorded on the BinKabi platform.
Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, Buycoins is a rapidly growing cryptocurrency trading platform. Trading on BuyCoins is instantaneous, as no waiting is required.
Buying and selling crypto on BuyCoins is unprecedentedly easy and rapid. The platform is known to be very safe for storage.
The startup just launched a new platform called “SendCash”, that helps users send money to their Nigerian bank accounts, with Bitcoin.
Tracr uses blockchain technology to track diamonds mined in Africa. Created by South African billion-dollar diamond company DeBeers, the platform uses blockchain to keep permanent records of all diamonds mined, from the point of mining to the point where they are sold to jewelry manufacturers. This improves the working standard of miners, as it ensures positive feedback for loop suppliers.
PesaBase is a payments and remittances startup. The startup’s uniqueness lies in the fact that its major goal is to properly acquaint Africans with blockchain technology.
According to its CEO, Nhial Majok, the startup also plans on connecting South Sudan with the rest of East Africa.
The blockchain app primarily allows users to pay for goods and services, and also send money into existing digital wallets.
Located in South Africa, Tari is a blockchain startup that allows users to transfer digital assets across the Tari blockchain. The startup hopes to integrate payment across Africa. The company’s commitment towards integrating the technology throughout Africa, is displayed in its support for small blockchain startups through a blockchain university.
Africa’s economic revolution might come through blockchain technology. With a quarter of its population between the age range of 15-24, it is safe to say that blockchain startups will keep sprouting across the continent. Headed by young entrepreneurs driven by the need to solve centuries-old problems in their societies.