Africa: Three African countries identified by Google as springboards for cryptocurrencies on the continent

Nigeria, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast emerge as the top 3 worldwide champions in Google searches for the term “crypto” over the past 7 days. Amidst devalued or unstable currencies and investment opportunities in a context of dynamic regulations, cryptocurrencies are regaining interest.

Nigeria, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast have globally distinguished themselves, occupying the top three positions in searches for words rooted in «crypto» over the past 7 days, according to Google-provided data on search trends.

While Nigeria historically stands out as the African country where cryptocurrencies are most ingrained in habits, Cameroon and Ivory Coast are newly prominent in this ranking.

This surge in Google searches on cryptocurrencies in these three countries coincides with a major development in the field.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has granted permission for investors to include Bitcoin in their savings plans.

This decision is likely to impact the global cryptocurrency market and could potentially influence dynamics in Africa.

Although cryptocurrencies are not strictly regulated in the CEMAC and UEMOA zones, they are not prohibited either.

 Authorities in both sub-regions have issued warnings, urging savers to exercise caution.

In Cameroon and Ivory Coast, the cumulative number of people using or holding bitcoins reached 1.4 million, according to a report published in December 2022 by the Moroccan think tank Policy Center of the New South. Both countries now have cryptocurrency service providers.

 A notable example is Ejara, a Bitcoin transaction startup founded by Cameroonians, which raised $8 million in 2022, according to the Journal of Private Financial Transactions in Africa.

However, interest in cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets will continue to evolve based on national contexts.

Nigeria, grappling with currency volatility and devaluation, sees a rise in interest in cryptocurrencies that could serve as a safe-haven asset against inflation and the volatility of the naira.

In contrast, in the two Francophone countries benefiting from a stable currency, Bitcoin primarily attracts a youth seeking quick gains.

The current overall valuation of cryptocurrencies ($1,748 billion as of January 12, 2024), dominated by Bitcoin at 52%, has been steadily growing since reaching its lowest level in December 2022 ($780 billion).

The current progression, far from spontaneous, is attributed to the active support of major global fund managers, such as the American BlackRock, contributing to bringing more stability to the sector.

This renewed interest observed in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast may signal a new phase in the evolution of cryptocurrencies on the continent.

It will be essential to continue monitoring regulatory developments in the concerned countries and assess the impact of these new financial products on various monetary strategies and efforts to combat financial crime.


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