It wasn’t so long ago that the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin made its way into our consciousness becoming by far the most revolutionary digital innovation in the 21st century. The digital coin, created under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, was launched in 2009 as a reaction to the 2008 financial crisis that caused a recession.
Since its inception, its (Bitcoin) price has swung from a lowly $0.0008 to a massive high of over $60,000 in 2021. To put in a mind-blowing context, if you bought 100 Bitcoins in 2010 which was worth a paltry 8 cents then and kept it till now, that Bitcoin will be worth a whopping $4.7 million! Such massive returns within a very short period are almost impossible with conventional investment
READ: 11 Cryptocurrency Acronyms And Terminologies You Must Know In 2022
What Is Cryptocurrency
As earlier stated, the epic financial crash in 2008 has pushed folks to sort for other less controlled financial options which inevitably heralded the era of cryptocurrency. The idea behind cryptocurrency is to create a decentralised system (completely independent of centralised organisations like banks and government) for financial transactions using digital currencies. Over the years, there has been an explosion of digital currencies with different use cases
Before Bitcoin, there had been previous attempts at creating decentralised digital currencies with ledgers secured by encryption. For example, B-Money and Bit Gold were formulated but never fully developed.
Global Cryptocurrency Ownership
At the end of 2021, cryptocurrency users across the world grew to almost 300 million. If crypto users were a country, it will be the 4th most populated country in the world behind China, India and USA. The global user base of crypto has massively increased by nearly %58000 between 2016 and 2021. It is expected that the total users could explode to 1 billion by the end of 2022 based on projections.
These numbers show the increasing adoption of cryptocurrency for payment transactions and investment purposes over conventional payment methods. It also shows the middle finger given by people to the financial establishment.
Top Cryptocurrency Countries
India has the highest number of cryptocurrency users in the world. The South-East Asian country has more than 100 million users – 33% of the total global users – at the moment. This is followed by the USA, Russia, Nigeria and Brazil with 27 million, 17 million, 13 million and 10 million users respectively according to data made available by Triple-A, a cryptocurrency payment platform based in Singapore.
The data also reported the countries with the highest percentage of users per population. The number country on the list is Ukraine with 12.73% users followed by Russia, Kenya, USA and India with 11.91%, 8.52%, 8,31% and 7.3% user base respectively.
The ease and
African Cryptocurrency Users
The continent of Africa has seen the most adoption of crypto among developing countries across the world. The continent has seen a 1200% ($105 billion in market value) increase in cryptocurrency payments from 2020 to 2021. This is not unexpected as Africans daily seek alternate means to bypass the ubiquitous and expensive traditional banking services.
The cost of remittances to Africa remains the highest in the world. It cost about $18 for an African living abroad to send $200, about 9% on average. The cost within Africa is higher, going up as much as 20%. Thanks to Crypto, Africans have found cheaper and faster means to send money to their loved ones. Remittance has been the rocket that has propelled the growth of cryptocurrency in Africa.
Another reason Africans have embraced cryptocurrency is the unavailability of foreign exchange to merchants who do business with their foreign counterparts. The forex crunch experienced by some African countries like Nigeria has driven merchants to source them elsewhere prompting them to create accounts on peer 2 peer crypto platforms like Paxful, Remitano and Binance.
The rate of cryptocurrency adoption is expected to be sustained despite the restrictions placed by some African governments. Talking about government restriction on crypto…
Cryptocurrency User vs Central Banks
The reaction of some African governments toward the explosive growth of cryptocurrency in their backyard has been nothing but hostile. Early last year, the central bank Governor of Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crypto market by size, restricted the use of crypto by ordering financial institutions from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions in the country.
This hasn’t deterred die-hard crypto users as the rate of adoption rose by 10% points to 42% by the end of 2021 effectively rendering the restriction impotent.
Other countries where crypto has been restricted or fully banned are Algeria (complete ban), Bangladesh, (complete ban), Egypt (partial ban), Bolivia (complete ban), China (complete ban), Columbia (partial ban), Iran (partial ban), Indonesia (complete ban), India (complete ban), Iraq (partial ban), Russia (partial ban), Turkey (complete ban) and Vietnam (partial ban).
Big Companies Jumping on the Cryptocurrency Wagon
With over 300 million cryptocurrency users around the world, it’s no surprise big companies across industries from -Big tech to Insurance – are joining the revolution by adopting digital currencies like Bitcoin as a payment method. Even modest companies aren’t been left out in the revolution. According to a 2020 study by HSB, a cyber insurance and inspection company, 36% of small and medium businesses accept cryptocurrency payments.
PayPal users in the US can now buy, sell or hold a select few cryptos, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin. They can also pay with any of these aforementioned cryptocurrencies on the Fintech platform. On Amazon, you can buy vouchers with crypto through a cryptocurrency exchange. Tech giant, Microsoft accepts Bitcoin for its Xbox store credit. Credit companies like Visa and Mastercard recently announced deals with cryptocurrency giants Crypto.com and Coinbase. Social microblogging platform, Twitter allows its users to be tipped in Bitcoin.
Other companies that have adopted the use of cryptocurrency as a form of payment include Tesla (they recently stopped accepting bitcoin as a method of payment), Starbucks, AT&T, AXA Insurance, Expedia, KFC, Twitch, Wikipedia, Travala, Dallas Mavericks, Burger King and so much more. Even countries are getting in the groove as well with El Salvador becoming the first country ever to unprecedentedly make Bitcoin the official legal tender.
This level of acceptance by these companies across all industries has shown how cryptocurrency has evolved over the last two decades.
The Future of Cryptocurrency
With innovative concepts like Metaverse and Web 3.0 set to dominate the cryptocurrency space, the future of cryptocurrency is as bright as the desert sun. The market valuation is expected to double by 2030.
One of the driving forces for the crypto market at the moment is the exciting virtual collections of digital arts known as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). The NFT market has seen astronomical growth in the past two years as the total value exchange peaked at almost $25 billion at the end of 2021. This growth is now inching closer in value to the traditional art market.
Another driving force is decentralised Finance (Defi) which has disrupted the entire centralised financial system operated by banks, Insurance companies and the government. These financial operations include earning interest, borrowing, lending, buying insurance, trading derivatives, trading assets, and so much more.
DeFi typically uses smart contracts which are automated enforceable agreements that do not need intermediaries to execute and can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection.
Examples of some of these DeFi projects that have sprung up in the last few years include Aave, Fantom, PancakeSwap, MakerDAO and Compound.
This is the right time for you to take advantage of the innovations happening in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space by adopting some of the solutions that will digitally transform your business in more ways than one.