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Bitcoin in Africa

Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency-Maana Na Jinsi Inavyofanya Kazi

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Bitcoin

Sehemu ya kwanza

Miaka kuku na moja iliyopita, neno “cryptocurrency”lilionekana la ajabu kwa wengi. Hata Sasa hili neno limekuwa likisikika mara kwa mara lakini bado watu wengi wamekuwa hawajui linamaanisha nini hasa. Ni neno lililozoeleka Kama fedha za mtandaoni ama Bitcoin.

Je fedha za mtandaoni ni nini hasa?

Watu wengi Wana uelewa potofu juu ya fedha za mtandaoni, kwa baadhi ni neno linalohusishwa na wizi na njia zisizo halali za kifedha, kwa wengine hili neno limekuwa msamiati watu wakitumia kutengeneza fedha. Cryptocurrencies inaweza kuelezewa na kueleweka kwa njia rahisi. Uelewa wa mahesabu yake huchukua mda mrefu Sana. Ingawa, kuwa na uelewa kidogo juu ya mfumo wa thamani yake Ni kitu pekee kinachohitajika ili uweze kutumia.

Je Cryptocurrency ni nini?

Cryptocurrency ni fedha ya kimtandao iliyo dhahiri au halisi ambayo inaweza kutumika kubadilishana au kufanya manunuzi. Inaweza kuonekana Kama fedha ya kawaida, lakini ambayo mtu hawezi kushika. Ili kupata uelewa sahihi wa dhana hii,uione kama hawala ya fedha-naira ya Nigeria, Cedi ya Ghana, dola ya Marekani,Shilingi ya Kenya au Rand ya Afrika kusini. Cryptocurrencies inafanyanishwa na aina hizi za hawala, lakini ikiwa na tofauti kuu-cryptocurrency ni ya uhalisia.

Tofauti na hawala ya kawaida, Cryptocurrencies hazimilikiwi na eneo ama nchi Fulani, kwahiyo zenyewe zinaweza kutumiwa na mtu yeyote, popote (Ingawa, uhalalishaji wake ni hafifu kwa baadhi ya nchi).

Kitu gani kinafanya ziwe salama?

Cryptocurrencies zinadhibitiwa na fumbo (cryptography). Fumbo Ni njia ya kulinda ujumbe ndani ya mtandao. Katika kipindi ambacho biashara nyingi na miamala mingi imehamia katika mfumo wa digit, fumbo (cryptography) inabeba jukumu muhimu ya kulinda taarifa ambazo zinakuwa zinabadilishwa katika tovuti mbalimbali duniani. Fumbo inafumba taarifa au jumbe ili iweze kumfikia muhusika pekee (mlengwa). Cha kushangaza fumbo haikuanzia kwenye mitandao. Ni mfumo ulioanza kutumika tangu miaka ya 1900 Kabla ya Kristo.

Jinsi gani mfumo wa fumbo (cryptography) unavyofanya kazi na fedha za mtandaoni.

Kitu cha muhimu katika mfumo wa fumbo kwenye nadharia ya fedha za mtandao ni suala la saini ya digiti. Saini mara nyingi inatumika kuonesha uhalali katika dunia ya mtandao na vivyo hivyo ndivyo inavyotumika katika ulimwengu wa digiti. Saini itakuonesha mmiliki wa hati, hakitakiwi ighushike, na pindi hati ikisainiwa saini haiwezi kuondolewa. Hivi ndivyo saini za kidigiti hufanya.

Hata hivyo, japokuwa saini ni njia Bora ya kuonesha uhalali, bado zinaweza kughushika. Ili kuondokana na changamoto hii, mfumo wa fumbo unaenda hatua moja zaidi kwa kuongeza funguo katika sahihi hizi za kidigiti. Funguo hizi zinafunga hati ili kuhakikisha macho yanayochungulia kushindwa kuona sahihi. 

Kuna mahesabu magumu mno katika mfumo wa fumbo ambazo zinasaidia katika fedha za mtandao hivyo huzifanya fedha hizo kutumika kwa ufasaha.

Historia fupi ya Bitcoin na fedha za mtandao

Flooz, Beenz na DigiCash ni Kati ya walionza mapema kutumia fedha za mtandaoni mnamo miaka ya 90, kwa bahati mbaya wote walishindwa. Kwa matokeo hayo, kushindwa kwa majaribio yao ya kwanza kuhusu fedha za kidigitali, kulifanya wazo zima kupoteza muelekeo na hakukuwa na kumbukumbu ya majaribio yaliyorekodiwa tena tangu kipindi hiko.

Kisha akaja Satoshi mwaka 2009 mtaalamu wa kompyuta asiyejulikana, aliyetumia jina la Satochi Nakamoto, alikuja na wazo la Bitcoin. Alielezea Bitcoin kuwa haipo chini ya mamlaka yeyote ambayo haikuhitaji mtu yeyote wa katikati. Kutuma fedha ilikuwa rahisi Kama kutuma faili kutoka kwenye simu moja kwenda kwemye simu nyingine.

Hali ya fedha ya mtandaoni kutokuwa chini ya mamlaka yeyote ni moja ya sifa yake bora zaidi. Kama ilivyo aina ya Mitandao mingine ya malipo ilitakiwa ishughulikie tatizo la kulipia kitu mara mbili. Kulipia Mara mbili ni kitendo Cha kitapeli Cha kutumia kiasi kile kile Cha fedha Mara mbili. Njia ya kawaida ya kutatua tatizo hili ni kwa kutengeneza mfumo ambao utatunza rekodi ya kila muamala na kumbukumbu ya salio. Hata hivyo, mfumo hu unahitaji mtu wa tatu ambaye atakuwa na taarifa sahihi baina ya watumiaji wawili. Bitcoin za Satoshi zinahitaji sehemu maalumu ha kutunzia kumbukumbu. Inatumia mfumo wa kutunza kumbukumbu ambao umetawanywa unaojulikana kama blockchain. Hii inaondoa haha ya kuwa na mfumo mmoja wa kuhifadhia kumbukumbu za miamala. Blockchain ni mfumo wa kumbukumbu ambao unaacha nakala ya kumbukumbu kwa kila mtumiaji. Mabadiliko yeyote yanayofanywa katika mfumo huu huweka kumbukumbu hiyo kwenye nakala ya watu wote, hivyo basi kufanya mtu mmojawapo asiweze kubadilisha taarifa kwenye kila kumbukumbu.

Ndani ya mtandao wa fedha za kimtandao kama Bitcoin, watumiaji wanathibitisha mialama. Watumiaji wanafanya hivi kwa kutatua mfumo mgumu uliowekwa.

Kwahiyo, namna gani tunaweza kutumia fedha za mtandao?

Kama fedha nyingine,fedha ya mtandao inaweza kutumika kulipia bidhaa na huduma. Mnamo tarehe 22 mwezi wa tano mwaka 2010, mwanamme mmoja kwa jina la Lazlo Hanyecza alilipia pizza yake kwa Bitcoin 10,000. Hii ilikuwa Mara ya kwanza kwa fedha ya mtandaoni kutumika Kama njia ya kufanya manunuzi. Hii siku inajulikana Kama siku ya Bitcoin pizza. Leo, Lazlo angelipia dola 231,000 kwa ajili ya hiyo pizza.

Kuna wafanyabiashara wengi ambao wangekubali fedha za mtandaoni Kama malipo. Katika maduka ya apple, fedha ya mtandaoni imethibitishwa Kama njia ya malipo. Katika maeneo mengi ya Afrika Kama vile Nigeria, Ni njia Bora ya kufanya malipo nje ya mipaka.

Ukiachana kutumika Kama njia ya malipo ,fedha za mtandaoni pia zinatumika Kama njia mojawapo ya uwekezaji. Mtu ambaye aliwekeza Bitcoin moja mwaka 2010, kipindi ambacho Bitcoin ilikuwa chini ya dola moja, angeweza kupata $ 18,000.

Ingawa Bitcoin inaweza kuwa Kati ya vitu vya thamani ndani ya miaka kumi ni muhimu kujua kwamba fedha za mtandao zinabadilika haraka Sana, hivyo kufanya uwekezaji wake uwe wa hatari.

Bitcoin, fedha ya mtandaoni iliyo imara zaidi ilishuka kwa ghafla Sana mwaka 2017. Thamani yake ilipanda Sana hadi $20,000 na ikashuka ghafla Hadi $3000. Hata hivyo, fedha hii imeendelea kupanda juu Sana. Kwa Sasa ina thamani ya $23,000 wakati wa kuandika makala hii.

Ushuhuda kutoka kwenye kazi za uvunaji

Fedha za mtandaoni pia zinaweza zikavunwa. Uvunaji ni muhimu Sana kwa fedha za mtandaoni, hasa kwa wale wanaotumia mfumo wa POW. Wavunaji wanathibitisha muamala ili iweze kuwekwa katika kumbukumbu. Kwa kufanya hivyo, wanaongeza huduma za utunzaji taarifa za miamala. Wavunaji wanatatua mafumbo mbalimbali ya fedha za mtandaoni. Mafumbo yanazidi kuwa magumu kwa fedha maarufu kadri siku zinavyozidi kwenda. Siku hizi mahesabu ya Hali ya juu mno yanahitajika ili mtu aweze kufanikiwa kuvuna. Kwa kila fumbo litakalotatuliwa mvunaji anapewa zawadi ya Bitcoin. Uvunaji ni kati ya njia inayoifanya sarafu kuzunguka. Miaka inavyozidi kwenda kiwango Cha zawadi kwa wavunaji kimekuwa kikipunguzwa ili kupunguza mzunguko wa fedha za mtandaoni. Hii pia imekuwa sababu ya Bitcoin kuongezeka thamani. Wavunaji walikuwa wanapewa zawadi ya Bitcoin 50 hawati fedha hii inaanza, Sasa hivi zawadi Ni Bitcoin 6.25. Hata hivyo zawadi hii itaendelea kushika mda unavyozidi kwenda. Bitcoin milioni mbili tu ndizo zilizobaki kuvunwa. Kuvunwa kwa hizo kutafanya kuwe na na Bitcoin milioni 21 katika mzunguko.

Uwekaji wa dau uhitaji waweka dau wabainishe kiasi Cha dau.

Ukiacha uvunaji, fedha nyingine zinatumia mfumo wa dau. Bitcoin inahitaji mvunaji kuthibitisha muamala, frledha nyingine za mtandao hazihitaji hivyo. Mfano Ni ethereum 2.0, fedha hii ikiwa ni ya pili kwa ukubwa ukiacha bitcoin. Ethereum inahitaji kuthibitisha muamala unaotokea ndani ya mtandao wa ethereum. Wahakiki wanahitaji dau la angalau ethereum 32 ili kukupa haki ya kuhakiki.

Uhakiki hatuhitaji mahesabu ya Hali ya juu Kama uvunaji. Kompyuta ya kawaida inaweza kuhakiki.

Uwekaji wa dau, hata hivyo haujaanza bado kutumika katika mtandao wa ethereum. Ni mfumo mpya ndani ya mtay ambao utaanza kutumika mnamo mwaka 2021.

Kujifunza kuhusu fedha za mtandao ni hatua ambayo inaanza kwa kuzimiliki kwanza. Kusoma maoni katika mitandao ya kijamii kutachangia uelewa zaidi. Fuatilia akaunti mbalimbali za mitandao ya kijamii na taarifa mbalimbali ili kufanya maamuzi sahihi kwenye fedha za mtandao

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Bitcoin in Africa

The rise of CBDC in African economies

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Many nations have taken cues from the world of crypto and its resounding successes over the last decade. In order to avoid getting left behind, governments worldwide are increasingly turning their attention towards implementing some form of digital currency, a CBDC which in full is Central Bank Digital Currency. Although inspired by cryptocurrencies, CBDC’s are quite different from traditional crypto platforms. The main differences are that CBDC’s are unlikely to be decentralized, the supply of this currency regulated by the host’s country’s central bank as the CBDC is designed to operate as a sovereign legal tender, the digitized form of the host country’s fiat currency. Thus, a central bank may issue digitized tokens of its currency of which their value is pegged to the fiat currency of the nation in question, making CBDC’s stablecoins.

Africa has seen a rise in the use of cryptocurrencies and it’s still pushing frontiers in this sector. Although the use of crypto in many African nations is becoming more and more pervasive by the day, the tone of governments in many of these countries toward the sector is cautious at best and threatening at worst. However, a few nations have voiced interests in creating digitized versions of their legal tender to function as a CBDC. Amongst these are Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco, Kenya and Tunisia.

Many of these projects are still in the research phase or developmental phase however. A good example is Ghana’s proposed CBDC, the E-cedi being developed in partnership with German company, Giesecke + Devrient. Nigeria’s CBDC project, the eNaira has been announced and according to Nigeria’s central bank, this CBDC will be launched sometime in 2021. To that end, the CBN has partnered with fintech company, Bitt Inc. to serve as the technical partner in the eNaira’s development. Reportedly, the CBN had made the decision to digitize the Nigerian Naira in 2017.

While the pursuance of digital currencies in African nations is a welcome development, implementation of these schemes isn’t without challenges. Chief among the issues countries in Africa face would be the already existing financial service inequality and poor penetration of internet access in the continent. These challenges must be tackled in order to allow for mainstream adoption of CBDCs and the subsequent provision of financial inclusion. The benefits largely depend on the peculiarities of the nation deploying them. For instance, a digital currency is thought to help Nigeria increase foreign remittances, it’s second largest source of forex after oil. Whatever the outcome of these projects, it is becoming apparent that CBDC’s have come to stay.

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Bitcoin in Africa

Why the Nigerian Government is Panicking About Bitcoin

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Fear, social media clamour, open outrage amongst citizens and vivid apprehension of the outcome of what the ban on crypto means for traders and investors as well as fintech companies. To some, it was a welcome development aimed at driving the ship of the country towards a better shore. To others, it was another rule by the Nigerian government to clamp down on technology. On February 5, 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a circular directing all commercial banks to close the accounts that are connected to cryptocurrency platforms. This was later given further clarification in a 5-paged article stating a plethora of reasons why it is not advisable to trade cryptocurrency. The article explained that the ban does not mean that Nigerians can no longer trade cryptocurrency. However, it is a measure to dissociate commercial banks from all forms of crypto trading which are considered wrong. 

CBN’s reasons for banning cryptocurrency 

The 5-paged article was released 2 days after the crypto ban. It explains why it is inadvisable to trade cryptocurrency and the justification behind the orders of the CBN. Rather than give a fair definition of cryptocurrency, CBN focused on the partial lapses of the currency in explaining its meaning. In the explanatory article, cryptocurrency was defined as “digital or virtual currencies issued by largely anonymous entities and secured by cryptography. Cryptography is a method of encrypting and hiding codes that prevent oversight, accountability, and regulation.” 

While explaining the rationale behind the ban, the circular reiterates that Nigeria is not the first country to place restrictions on cryptocurrency. Countries like China, Canada, Taiwan, Indonesia, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Bolivia, Kyrgyzstan, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iran, Bangladesh, Nepal and Cambodia have placed certain restrictions on the trading of cryptocurrency. Quoting various instances where cryptocurrencies have been derided by various persons and institutions without reference to cases where Bitcoin has been praised by reputable investors and institutions. In the latter instance, Bitcoin was referred to as the new gold.  

One of the reasons behind the ban is that the cryptocurrencies are issued by unregulated or unlicensed persons which contravenes the CBN Act of 2007. Also, its anonymity and decentralization quality show that “its patrons and users value anonymity, obscurity, and concealment”. The CBN explained that there would be no need for such concealment if the activities of users were legal. Nevertheless, the CBN forgot that apart from using crypto for transactions, it can also be used as a store of value. 

Lack of centralization and the accompanying issues of anonymity are the predominant reasons stated by the CBN before its ban on cryptocurrency. 

You may wonder why the CBN waited till 2021 to place a ban on crypto despite its popularity since 2010. This reason is not far-fetched as it explains the true reason behind February directives on cryptocurrency. 

Hidden reasons behind the ban on cryptocurrency 

Few months after the directives were issued to commercial banks in Nigeria, Chainalysis, a blockchain research firm, issued a report that the volume of a dollar received from crypto users in Nigeria has grown between 2020-2021. In May, Nigeria received $2.4 billion worth of crypto compared to $684 million received in December 2020. The increase occurred after the clampdown on crypto by the central bank. This shows that CBN orders have little or no effect on cryptocurrency trading. 

Last October marked an important turning point in the history of Nigeria. It marked a month of consciousness amongst the youths, protest rocks every state in Nigeria against police brutality and an end to the Sars police unit under the hashtag #Endsars. The protest was the first of its kind after more than a decade. During the EndSars protest, various groups sprang up to receive donations for demonstrators to provide them with first aid, food and security. The accounts of these groups were suspended which led one of such groups, Feminist Coalition to start receiving Bitcoin for donations due to its decentralization. About $150,000 worth of Bitcoin was received which was used to support EndSars protesters.

 Jack Dorsey, Founder/CEO of Twitter reshared the FemCo Bitcoin donation page with the caption “donate via bitcoin to help EndSars”. His actions might have explained the ban on Twitter by the Nigerian government. The use of cryptocurrency to fuel such protests is the main unstated reason behind the recent ban. 

In conclusion, the Nigerian government may pretend that the clampdown on cryptocurrency is a result of its lapses usually quoted by various countries as reasons behind restrictions. However, the activities of the Nigerian government is the fear of the inability to control the currency. It is gradually becoming the action of the current government to restrict whatever it can not control. 

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Bitcoin in Africa

How Demographic Trends are Pushing Cryptocurrencies Adoption in Africa

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Demographic trends

The African crypto market has seen a tremendous boom in the last few years. Driving this growth are a myriad of factors among which are economic inequality, volatile fiat currencies, low financial inclusion as well as high unemployment rates. These drivers of market growth are also greatly intertwined with Africa’s unique demographics which entail the distribution and categorization of the population.

The goal or aim of many cryptocurrency projects and the movement of the community in general is to get to a point where they’re widely used and accepted by individuals, corporations and governments. This implies mainstream adoption, much like the pervasive nature of mobile banking today. Africa presents unique opportunities owing not just to the socioeconomic clime but it’s demographics as well.

For cryptocurrencies to achieve mainstream adoption, they would have to in a sense become the norm and be widely accepted and recognized by virtually all corners of society, much like Facebook is in the social media world. In Africa, despite the size of the crypto market, cryptocurrencies are still a good distance away from what one would describe as popular acceptance. The sector is growing no doubt, however, that growth is reflective of Africa’s unique demographics and population scene.

It is without question that the African continent is the youngest, in terms of median age at 19.7 years. There are about 600 million people aged between 15 and 45 in Africa, representing nearly half of Africa’s population. Many nations, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa are in stage 2 of the demographic transition (high birth rates and high death rates – relatively low life expectancy) which is representative of the economic climes of these nations. A report found that around 13 million young Africans enter the labour market each year against 3.7 million jobs, most created by the informal sector. Therefore many African youth are laden with economic difficulties at that important time in their lives.

However, Africa’s young population, generally speaking, has a greater proclivity for being more open minded to technology adoption. Education and literacy has played a role in this with Africa’s literacy rate at around 70%. While not comparable to that of other continents, this rate is driven greatly by the large young population Africa boasts of. In any case, seeing the economic conditions of many African countries, and a tendency for young people to adopt and/or trust new technologies better and faster than other age groups gives some explanation to how quickly the crypto market is growing on the continent. As the years go by, the level of adoption would inevitably continue to increase as the current youth population expands till it gets to the point where blockchain becomes so pervasive that it achieves the necessary trust and acceptance to become mainstream.

Right now, in some African nations, that line is being crossed already with central digital currencies in development.

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