From the most populous black state in the world Nigeria, to Kenya, Zimbabwe and across the Central Africa, the governments have all placed ban on cryptocurrencies. However, the citizens of these states have developed a new style of trading bitcoin.
In some countries like Zimbabwe, Bitcoin trades have gone underground since the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) shutdown the country’s only two digital currency trading platforms, Golix and Styx24, with the allegations of violating Exchange Control regulations and of offering unlicensed banking services.
While in Nigeria on the other hand, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Emefiele and the Nigeria Senate house, gave out warnings to Nigerians to stay off bitcoin trading and any of its services. Labeling it ponzhi schemes (e.g the collapsed MMM ponzhi scheme).
However, since the people won’t be getting the government support, Africans have developed a new style of trading bitcoin.
The Peer-to-peer Whatsapp Market
Bitcoin find new life on WhatsApp. In Zimbabwe, what people do now is to sell and buy bitcoin by placing bids and sell orders on various Whatsapp groups. After which, interested parties are invited to private chat to close the deal.
Over time, cryptocurrency enthusiasts have built strong Whatsapp groups where they share information and news on developments taking place in the sector. Now, they are using similar means to buy and sell cryptocurrency, utilizing connections they already know or new ones.
According to a cryptocurrency proponent and writer based in Kenya, David Gitonga, the bitcoin Whatsapp market is expanding rapidly in the country. This is despite the fact that in April, the Central Bank of Kenya described bitcoin as a “pyramid scheme” and warned banks against dealing with companies involved in the trade of virtual currencies and cautioned that the banks themselves should not invest in digital coins at all.
Gitonga further said:
“The peer-to-peer market in Kenya is pretty huge. Whatsapp is mostly the preferred form of trading due to ease of communication and speed,” he said, by email. “The community already has a recognized list of traders that offer the services. Anyone looking to buy or sell crypto is likely going to go through these traders. For large transactions, most sellers and buyers meet face-to-face once they’ve been introduced to each other on Whatsapp.”
From the look of things, the governments in Africa cannot put a stop to buying and selling of cryptocurrency on the continent. Trading bitcoin would rather be getting more popular by their ban and restrictions.