The price of Bitcoin continues to rise (at the time of publishing it had crossed the $51,000 milestone on most popular cryptocurrencies exchanges) and it continues to attract news and financial speculators. What hasn’t changed much though between 2020 and 2021 is the use cases for Bitcoin.
As things stand, just as they were in 2020 and the years before, there aren't many mainstream use cases for Bitcoin beyond financial speculation. Looking at its price since 2010, it is understandable why this is the case.
Bitcoin's price volatility, and more importantly price rise over a decade, has attracted many speculators looking to make money off its price movements.
During the same time, the talk and implementation of new Bitcoin use cases have kind of peaked. I had written in a previous edition of this newsletter that Bitcoin makes for a terrible currency. As such, it makes for a terrible use case as a payments solution or even a remittance solution.
However, my mind is slowly changing (very slowly).
One of the things that are interesting to observe across different African countries is how the devaluing (very quick devaluing) of various countries' currencies is leading Africans (a small portion of Africans at the moment) towards using Bitcoin as a store of value. The other side is seeing nyama choma's like Betty's in Nyeri, Kenya that accept Bitcoin payments.
Also, I am getting a signal that interest in Bitcoin is slowly going mainstream when I listen to Lesedi FM (a Sesotho-language radio station in South Africa) and hear them discuss the price of Bitcoin as part of their financial news updates.
However, I still maintain that for Bitcoin to go mainstream and become "real" we need to see it being used in day-to-day life. Or does that not matter?
Today's Top Stories
₿ Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya are some of the African countries that have recorded an increasing acceptance of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. What has been interesting to observe especially in these countries is that cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, are finding some mainstream use cases and not just being used for financial speculation. One use case is Bitcoin being used as a store of value by small businesses in Africa given that their country’s currency is either volatile or on a sharp decline, e.g. if a small business owner in Nigeria bought Bitcoin worth 10,000 Nairas in 2019, their investment would have increased by 85% after one year. Link
📈 The South African economy and the currency are greatly influenced by what happens in the world economy to the extent that some commentators say that our local problems almost become insignificant and investor decisions are driven by global changes in sentiment. Murtaza Moulvi Head of Financial Markets South Africa and Southern Africa, at Standard Chartered answers some questions and shares some of his insights about the impact of the global economy on the South African market. He covers questions on USA elections’ impact on South Africa, national debt, and more. Link
🚀 Deya, a crowdfunding startup in Angola, has received a pre-seed funding investment of over $50,000. This was made by a group of angel investors in Angola. Currently, Deya wants to help improve access to finance for social impact causes with plans to facilitate startup and SME investment crowdfunding later in 2021 which will be based on an equity model as compared to the current donation and reward model. Since its launch, Deya has had more than approximately $22,000 raised for social impact projects on its crowdfunding platform. Link
🤱🏾 A new maternal mobile health service launched in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Known as Mum & Baby, the service is a free-of-charge mobile health intervention service that provides Vodacom DRC subscribers with maternal, neonatal, and child health information designed to encourage good health practices amongst pregnant women, mothers, partners, and caregivers. The maternal mobile health service launched in the DRC is similar to MomConnect which was first announced in South Africa back in 2014. Coincidentally, the Mum & Baby service was launched in South Africa in 2017 and by 2018 was reporting that it had 1,2 million registered subscribers. Link
🎧 Spotify is now being rolled out to 80 new countries including several across Africa. According to Spotify, these new markets represent over 1 billion potential new Spotify listeners, and as such, Spotify will be adding 36 new languages to its platform. What is interesting is that as part of this expansion, Spotify has also said that it plans to work with local creators and partners in each of the newly announced countries to expand its music offerings to meet the unique needs of each market. However, this is expected to happen over several years and doesn’t necessarily mean the opening of new Spotify offices in each country. Link
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