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How Crypto Is Gaining Popularity in Ghana

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Africa is a promising location for cryptocurrencies for a number of reasons. There are fewer complex infrastructures to reshuffle if some countries were to start using cryptocurrency, as well as a mobile money app culture, the spread of the internet and its altruistic benefits of helping unbanked populations.

All of these statements are true in Ghana. To date, Ghana has yet to regulate cryptocurrencies and using them is not recommended by higher authorities. All cryptocurrencies are not recognised as legal tender in the nation. This is because they fear citizens will become victims of scams, but it could be a scapegoat reason and it is possible that they don’t want locals to turn their back on local fiat currency, the GHS.

Nevertheless, crypto remains popular in Ghana because of the benefits it affords. It can help locals send and receive money internationally at much quicker and cheaper rates. This is why Ghanaians are still reaching for a bitcoin wallet from providers working within Africa, such as Luno.

Ghana’s Mobile App Culture

Sending and receiving money using mobile apps is something that a lot of Africans have been using for years. With family overseas sending money back home to those living in poorer African nations, they can receive money easily without access to a bank account. Africa’s unbanked population is estimated to be around 350 million, making it a large-scale problem that mobile app culture can navigate.

The statistics also point to an increase in money app culture within the last decade. Reports from the World Bank state that people in Ghana using money apps has significantly increased from just under 4 million to almost 24 million between 2012 and 2017. This data suggests a monumental shift has occurred within Ghana and more people are wanting to use apps to manage their finances.

A Response from The Bank of Ghana

The Bank of Ghana is not overlooking the trend within the country and recognises that mobile payments are on the rise. Yet, instead of regulating cryptocurrencies, they have decided to create their own digital currency (CBDC) that will be controlled by the bank which will be launched in 2020. Thus, it cannot be described as a cryptocurrency due to central control.

The question of whether this central digital currency will wipe out the usage of cryptocurrency remains to be seen, but it is unlikely because it is rumoured that the digital coin will not be powered by blockchain technology. The biggest desire for Ghanaians to use crypto comes from its cost-effectiveness and efficiency. The bank’s digital currency is not likely to help the currently unbanked populations either as the same barriers will be in place.

Crypto Is Irreplaceable

The key takeaway is that recognition of citizens’ desire to have easy financial systems is a step in the right direction, but centralised systems do not have the leverage to overtake cryptocurrency because of the benefits they afford.

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