In 2020, the adoption of blockchain technology in Africa and use of cryptocurrency rose to new heights. Although many attribute this surge to Covid-19’s work, some blockchain advocates think that it is due to their contribution to the rise in digital currencies.
Important role of education
The adoption of digital currencies that are blockchain-anchored, such as bitcoin, has increased in areas like Africa and Asia where there is still a high number of economically disadvantaged adults. This trend began in the first quarter 2020. Indeed, the blockchain and cryptocurrencies have proved to be tailor-made for the “new normal” that has subsisted since the pandemic began.
Although blockchain advocates and crypto enthusiasts may view increased crypto use as the result of their efforts to date, others argue that there was an epidemic that forced Africans into using crypto-related solutions. Roselyne Wanjiru from Kenya, who is a blockchain educator and advocate, said that the work she does was still important.
Wanjiru shared with us her experience as a blockchain advocate and wrote her responses to Whatsapp questions. Below are Wanjiru’s answers.
Bitcoin.com News (BCN). Can you tell our readers why you are interested in crypto advocacy and education?
Roselyne Wanjiru (RW):The novelty and potential for blockchain technology to solve cybersecurity problems at large was what attracted me. I sought out initially a master’s in data science, but realizing the gaps in blockchain education, I opted to venture into research, advocacy, and awareness in the ecosystem.
BCN: For how long do you have been involved in this type of work? Can you tell us if it has been beneficial?
RW: Since 2018; it’s been an incredible and challenging journey. As services and users are improved, the levels of receptivity increase across the continent. This is even while more people become aware.
BCN: As one of few African women who are active in the education of fellow Africans regarding the possibilities of technology, you are a pioneer in this field. Do you see the gender gap as a result of these barriers or challenges?
RW:Unfortunately, the gender gap is being prevented by high rates of participation and inclusion for women and girls in STEM. [science, technology, engineering, and math]. Over time, this story is shifting due to an increase in social acceptance, incentive and role model by women involved in STEM.
BCN: Do you believe there should be more women involved in education?
RW:A rise in personal initiative and private-public partnership funding. Apprenticeship programs are also available to help nurture talent for companies entering this sector.
BCN: Many had predicted the widespread adoption of digital currency in Africa before the pandemic. However, this didn’t happen. For crypto and blockchain to be recognized, it took lockdowns and restrictions on movement for them to gain recognition. Does this suggest that the educators weren’t doing enough to prevent the outbreak?
RW:While educators were able to help disseminate the information, it was the financial pressure that caused many to consider other solutions. This led to an unprecedented increase in the use of the tools. It was difficult to imagine such an incentive, since many people were content with their incomes and finances before the pandemic.
BCN: Which use case do you believe is best for Africa’s digital currency?
RW:These digital currencies are currently used for remittances and alternative investments as well as speculation. The government will benefit from the increased use of digital currencies by central banks by gaining valuable information.
BCN: We know that bitcoin accounts for the largest portion of the continent’s traded crypto volumes. Chainalysis data indicates that the stablecoin volume seems to be increasing. Which factors do you believe are responsible for the rise in stablecoin volume?
RW: Two reasons: for investors looking to avoid the volatility in cryptocurrencies, stablecoins give the needed solution; and when markets show indications of price drops or bearish signals, stablecoins provide an alternative to retain one’s value so that it isn’t lost in the downward cycles.
BCN: A handful of countries from Africa, including some that have been experimenting with digital currencies for central banks (CBDC) has indicated in recent years they may be considering this possibility. Still, many such countries are unwilling to recognize private digital currencies — or have imposed measures that restrict the use of such currencies. Can you imagine a world where CBDC and private digital currencies could co-exist?
RW:Both can and will coexist. As long as the government follows the proper course to roll out CBDCs (which could take many years), citizens will become accustomed transacting with private digital wallets. It is important to consider how seamless the transition will occur in terms service integrations, ease-of-use and whether citizens feel incentivized by CBDCs.
BCN: How would you advise governments and central banks trying to prevent their citizens from using digital currency privately issued?
RW:In the context of increased government use of these tools in the future decade, they are wise to host and invest in forums that promote education, capacity building and collaboration with private sector partners such as Virtual Asset Service Providers. These governments should evaluate the possible savings in payments and cash transfer programs as well as the financial transparency that comes with these technology. It’s better to interrogate and take risks early rather than have history show what could have been done with opportunities past.
Let us know your opinions about the interview. Let us know what you think about this interview in the comment section below.
Image creditShutterstock. Pixabay. Wiki Commons
DisclaimerThis article serves informational purposes. It does not constitute an offer, solicitation, or recommendation of any company, products or services. Bitcoin.com doesn’t offer investment, tax or legal advice. The author and the company are not responsible for any loss or damage caused by the content or use of any goods, services, or information mentioned in the article.