This past year may have been comparatively calmer for Web3 development on the African continent, but experts in the cryptocurrency space are heading to Nairobi for the 6th Africa Tech Summit.
As we covered in our 2023 African Crypto Roundup, certain steps were taken to encourage adoption despite the general slowdown in the cryptocurrency industry and declining interest in cryptocurrencies. As the new year approaches, one might be curious about the prospects for Web3 adoption in Africa.
AppsAfrica/Africa Tech Summit conducted interviews with several industry experts to find out what the African Web3 Space would look like in 2024. What the experts are stating is as follows:
Africa’s Adoption of WEB3 will Grow in 2024
One of the most popular topics of conversation at the start of each year is adoption. This is mainly because the continent’s economic circumstances have resulted in high unemployment, a high cost of living, and the devaluation of local currencies, making cryptocurrencies and their ecosystem a competitive alternative to the established financial system.
The CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange Valr, situated in South Africa, Farzam Ehsani, offers his predictions for the upcoming year. According to Ehsani, individuals should have better options than the inefficient current financial systems, which Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may provide, particularly for payments.
“Our beautiful African continent is divided into over 50 sovereign territories with a jumble of different currencies and high costs to transfer money. If you ask any African whether it’s easier to send an email or to move money, no one will say moving money is easier. Bitcoin and crypto will usher in an age where moving money will become as simple as sending an email across the continent. Africa deserves a better financial system. Crypto should help us get there.” – Farzam Ehsani, CEO of Valr
Many still find it difficult to transmit money across the African continent, even after big fintech companies have made numerous attempts to solve the issue. The complexity of it for the typical person stems from several steps in addition to its costly nature (fees). Sometimes, in order to preserve as much value as possible during the transactions, people must exchange their local currency for the US dollar first, and then for another African nation. Many have hailed Bitcoin and stablecoins as excellent resources for resolving the continent’s payment issues. In 2024, this trend is expected to gain further traction as a number of significant fintech companies in Africa explore using stablecoins to facilitate payments.
Flutterwave, the most valuable fintech unicorn and startup in Africa, announced a cooperation with Hedera blockchain to integrate USDC during the Africa Money and DeFi Summit West Africa 2023, hosted in Accra, Ghana. This announcement represents a potential turning point in the use of stablecoins for cross-border payments in Africa, as Flutterwave handles billions of payments annually throughout the continent.
The CEO of MITA, Kena Amoah, provides an estimate for increased adoption. The huge number is 100 million, according to the CEO of a company creating a Web3 gaming experience that blends DeFi, the Metaverse, and conventional gaming technology.
“As we look ahead in 2024, the future of Web3 and crypto in Africa is poised for unprecedented growth and impact. With a young and tech-savvy population, Africa stands as a fertile ground for the adoption of blockchain technology, GameFi and decentralized finance (DeFi). I anticipate a substantial increase in crypto adoption rates, with projections indicating that over 100 million Africans will actively engage with digital assets.
I foresee a rise in blockchain-based solutions which will address the longstanding challenges, particularly in the financial sector. Recent data showcases a surge in crypto ownership across Africa, with over 53 million crypto owners in Africa currently, we will be seeing more growth in 2024.” – Kena Amoah, CEO of MITA.
Victor Denise Idongesit, a Web3 Community Manager and popular voice on X (Twitter,) shares in the optimism of renewed interest and mass adoption.
“In 2024, Africa will witness a crypto boom like no other. With increased accessibility, mobile money integration, and innovative use cases, crypto will become the cornerstone of financial inclusion and empower millions across the continent. While 2024 will see significant crypto adoption in Africa, regulatory uncertainties and lack of infrastructure could pose challenges. Navigating these hurdles will be critical for widespread adoption and sustainable growth,” said Victor Denise Idongesit, Web3 Community Manager.
Denise quickly clarifies that there won’t be any obstacles in the way of the expansion, since regulations will still be a top issue for cryptocurrency developers and consumers.
Will Regulators Change Their Minds?
Because several regulators and central banks have previously fought against the introduction of cryptocurrencies, regulations have gained a lot of attention on the continent. Significant alterations in 2023 in important markets like as South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria suggest that regulators may adopt a different strategy.
Co-leader of Superteam Nigeria Harri Obi predicts that in 2024, attitudes toward regulation would improve in more African nations.
“Regulations are on the horizon, whether we like it or not. Therefore, as stakeholders, it’s in our best interest to participate in shaping favourable crypto regulations. One of my predictions for the African crypto space in 2023 was that regulatory bodies would demand more assurances, ask more questions, and enact stricter policies to safeguard their citizens following the FTX and AAX debacles. South Africa is already taking the lead in this regard. Just before the year’s end, the Central Bank of Africa’s largest crypto economy lifted its crypto banking restriction. With Nigeria’s regional position and influence, I anticipate that more African countries will follow suit. Coupled with the imminent bull market, I expect to see more institutional players, investors, builders, and liquidity flowing into the space. Overall, I’m optimistic about the African crypto space in 2024.” Harri Obi, co-lead of Superteam Nigeria
The year 2023 saw the formalization of rules in South Africa, the lifting of limitations by Nigeria on traditional financial institutions collaborating with cryptocurrency startups, and the commencement of the formalization process in Ghana and Kenya. These adjustments can draw in large projects that have refrained from coming to the continent because of regulatory uncertainty.
Africa Grows Inimically as the On-Chain Wars Hotspot
Adoption and improved regulations has increased as many thought leaders from the continent’s top two predictions. Elisha (GhCryptoGuy), a podcast host at Cointelegraph and former business development manager at Binance, predicts that these two events will turn Africa into a hub for startups trying to gain a sizable portion of the market and onboard new customers.
“Africa will become the battleground for the wars of the L1s and L2s. Think Ethereum vs. Solana and Optimism vs. Arbitrum. Africa will play a significant role in these on-chain wars as various networks seek to find the next million users and developers to build the applications that will attract the users. The continent creates a fertile ground for cryptocurrency adoption, but the question of who leads the pack needs to be answered. For instance, the use of stablecoins is on the rise, but on what blockchain would people prefer? In 2024, more projects will invest heavily in education, marketing and developer initiatives to claim a portion of the growing market.” – Elisha (GhCryptoGuy), Podcast Host for Cointelegraph.
The rise in developer organizations for Ethereum, Solana, and certain Ethereum layer 2 networks across the continent is already a sign of this conflict.
Various observers predict an optimistic 2024 for the Web3 landscape in Africa, with legislation serving as the largest impediment to widespread adoption and driven by the fight for the next million users on the continent.
Attend the Africa Tech Summit 2024 in Kenya to gain personal insight into the African cryptocurrency scene and to witness these trends and projections in action.