Today, a new Monday means a new market for digital currencies – there’s breaking news that a well-known cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, is going to open its first platform in the nation of Uganda.
Articles like this one at Cointelegraph by Ana Berman are covering the announcement of this new cryptocurrency “branch” where locals will be able to deposit and withdraw national bank notes as of this Wednesday.
As for pairing, the platform is starting out with Bitcoin and Ethereum, but could go broader from there.
Binance is a heavyweight – with over a billion dollars in daily trade volume, the company is aggressively expanding its operations to take advantage of what leaders see as global opportunities.
“We think that crypto has a very strong use case in less developed countries… there’s more money to be made in a more developed country, but we want to distribute crypto to the rest of the world.” – Binance CEO and founder, Changpeng Zhao said as quoted by Ethereum World News in June. “Uganda is a really interesting situation; only 11 percent of the population has bank accounts. It’s both a challenge and an opportunity. … It’s an interesting experiment – Africa’s a big market, that’s why we’re there.”
In a geolocational sense, the crypto move into Uganda makes sense, as neighboring Kenya is one of the continent’s most forward-thinking Bitcoin adopters. Other leading African digital currency users are located in the South – for instance, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Over on the northwest Gulf Coast, Nigeria and Ghana also have their own cryptocurrency programs.
Analysts are looking at Africa as an emerging market for crypto currencies. An article at Investopedia talks about how crypto can help African countries heal from inflation – and how the decentralized systems of some of these nations could benefit from the transparency of blockchain. Analysts cite money exchange platforms like BitPesa, a Kenyan exchange that has its roots in dozens of banking locations around the continent.
“If history is anything to go by, when Africans take control, good things happen. Let’s hope this is a good one, the future of crypto could be African; as ever the revolution continues to fascinate,” wrote Monty Munford in Forbes in July, talking about the emergence of cell phone technologies on the continent and how African nations can surprise the world by modernizing quickly, also citing a move by CoinDirect to get crypto operations on the ground there.
However, analysts point out that price volatility is going to be as real in Africa as it would be in North America, South America, Europe, Asia or Antarctica. In other words, there’s no substitute for due diligence and good trading acumen.
Short term, we’re going to see the stocks zigzag all over the map – long-term, we’re either going to see increased stability and price supports as technology adoption increases, or some kind of breaking bubble. Either way, the smart investors are doing their homework on cryptocurrency markets and making deliberate, practical plays to diversify their portfolios.