It is an interesting season for Bitcoin and the entire blockchain industry. Ongoing events have generated an increased level of awareness in the industry like never before. Today, government institutions and regulators are paying closer attention towards the blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Then there is also the forthcoming Bitcoin reward halving. It is an event that always attracts a closer observation of the industry, especially the cryptocurrency marketplace by participants.
Another interesting development is the growing interest of blockchain startups towards the African market. Everyone seems to be interested in Africa like now, probably as a result of the obvious need of technological solutions across the continent.
The Present Mindset of Crypto Users
The current atmosphere of the industry suggests that the year 2020 could be a melting point for all these developments. It is a year that promises to be remarkable in so many ways, based on the expectations of participants in the industry. All the factors that are shaping the industry that have been mentioned above seem to have a date with 2020. This is an opinion that is shared by Michael Vogel, CEO & founder of Coinstream, and also the founder of Netcoins.
According to Vogel, since 2018, the crypto community has been looking towards 2020 as a beacon of light out of the “crypto winter” season. The Bitcoin block reward halving is a big reason for that, as well as a prevailing thought among technical analysts. The general consensus seems to be that by this time next year we could be in a booming crypto market.
Of course, this is the prevailing mindset of a lot of crypto users who are patiently waiting for an uptrend confirmation for the cryptocurrency market. There have been predictions, both wild and conservative on what will become of Bitcoin by the year 2020. While you can still find skeptics in the industry, the overall outlook remains bullish for the long run.
For those who are skeptical about what becomes of cryptocurrencies, most of their fears are based on how government is resisting certain innovations like Libra. This is something that Vogel sees from another angle that even benefits the industry. He notes that the polarizing opinions that governments have taken against Facebook’s Libra are great for the crypto community. It forces conversations into the mainstream about the purpose and role of currency (i.e. can currency be disconnected from government?). He also thinks that in some way, this may encourage Facebook’s billions of users to explore digital currency alternatives, like Bitcoin.
Africa is an Emerging Market for Digital Technology
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, many practitioners are already looking the way of Africa. Binance has already made an entry in this regard by partnering with Flutterwave. Other exchanges like Shortex are making efforts to bring tailor-made solutions to the continent as well. These events are not just a mere coincidence, and it is a development that Vogel confirms himself.
I recently received a nearly 200 page report from a leading silicon valley M&A firm which focused exclusively on the exploding Fintech market in Africa. Everyone looks to the success of M-Pesa, however that’s only one of many projects part of Africa’s growing fintech market. Blockchain based remittance, payments and digital banking are all markets open for disruption in Africa.
The need for technological implementation in Africa is at its highest level ever. With a growing population and high rate of deprivation, the continent shows all the signs to be ripe for a disruption. That is the only way that it can progress and try to measure up with the rest of the world.
In Africa, almost every aspect of human development is in dire need of improvement, and this can only happen with the proper technologies. Security, healthcare, banking, payments and many other industries are set for the oncoming tech revolution. The signs are already there and a number of indigenous startups are also positioning themselves.
What Should Regulators do in Africa?
Like the approach of Binance, what we are likely to see most will be partnerships between the more established international projects and the local ones. The majority of local startups think that this should be a part of the regulation being proposed around the continent.
Take for instance, a country like Nigeria where there is an outcry for the promotion of local content. This could be an ideal way of empowering the teeming youth population that are currently unemployed. Since it is almost certain that funding will be difficult to come by from the government, other kinds of support are still achievable.
If one of the conditions for a project to operate in Africa is partnership with local content, then we will see these local startups raising their games. They will do so in order to stand out and attract the bigger offshore players. This is a realistic way of growing the industry in this part of the world where startups are really struggling.
2020 is a year with a lot of potential for the blockchain industry. Setting up one’s self for the days ahead is what many practitioners have been up to in the industry. Even investors are organizing themselves and preparing their portfolios. For many of them, the recent bearish trend in the market presents a rare opportunity to stock up. Until the time comes, there will continue to be expectations in the industry. What nobody will want is to be caught unawares like in the cycles that we have seen before.
Iyke Aru is a seasoned author and educator in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. He has been in the business of crypto content writing for many years with thousands of his articles across several platforms on the internet. Iyke is based in Nigeria where he stands out as one of the most informed and credible figures in the cryptocurrency industry. Outside blockchain and crypto, you will most likely catch Iyke playing or discussing football with friends and family.