bitcoins-660Software-based online payments system or crypto-currency which is not backed by any central bank has taken off across the world, although it has it been short of controversy.

BitX, South Africa’s largest Bitcoin exchange which launched last year and operates in South Africa and Kenya as well as other countries, has now released a mobile app promoting better understanding and use of Bitcoin.

Beam which is a Ghanaian company is also  using Bitcoin, looking to undercut the likes of MoneyGram and Western Union, while Bitcoin ATMs are also arriving on the continent.

Beam has launched a Bitcoin Against Ebola website, which allows Bitcoin holders to make donations in support of relief efforts in Sierra Leone.
It is still early days, and much of what will dictate whether Bitcoin takes off in Africa depends on how it manages to hold up in the rest of the world.

It should be noted that Africa has a history of searching out alternative payment methods.

Everyone knows about the importance of mobile money to Africa. On a continent where less than 30% of the population are bank account holders, and fewer still own credit cards, mobile has become key. There are more mobile money accounts than bank accounts in at least nine countries in Africa. The biggest and most famous service – Kenya’s M-Pesa – has over 19m subscribers.

Now that mobile money is well established, the trend is towards how to do more with it. Operators are also adding extra services on top of simply being able to send and receive money.

Kenya’s Universal Service Fund (USF) has finally become a reality. Such funds are common in other parts of the world, and involve telecoms firms paying subsidies and fees to the fund. This money is the used to bridge the digital divide by rolling out telecoms services in rural areas.

With the Slow growth of Bitcoin, let us see how Africa adopts to the Crypto Currency.