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A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE SURGE OF CRYPTOCURRENCIES AND ITS USAGE IN AFRICA (A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED FINTECH COMPANIES IN NIGERIA)

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Throughout human history, various ways and mediums have been used to exchange commodities and services. Many of these methods and materials, such as metal coins or paper money, are often physical.

The worldwide financial community, without a doubt, is embracing the most recent technology revolution from real currency to essentially abstract currencies. As a result of this upsurge, cryptocurrencies were born. Cryptocurrency is a digital record-keeping system that uses balances to track trading obligations and is open to all traders. Crypto currencies include Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash, Neo, Iota, Dash, Qtum, Monero, and Ethereum Classic. Two parameters characterize a cryptocurrency system: the money growth rate of 0 and the transaction fee. According to Nakamoto (2008), cryptocurrency is a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. The peer-to-peer foundation of cryptocurrency is built on blockchain, which allows transactions to take place directly between users without the need for a middleman (Hameed & Farooq 2016; Grech, & Camilleri, 2017). It conducts secret transactions between parties, as a result of which the genuine names of the parties are unknown (Dierksmeier & Seele, 2016). This may be necessary because the whole details of a participant’s transaction on the cryptocurrency blockchain are publicly revealed to other persons (Bech & Garratt, 2017). Unlike traditional currency, which is issued at a constant frequency determined by each country’s Central Bank, cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, is mined using a predetermined issuance mechanism, with the quantity of Bitcoins to be mined halving every year.

Most banking organizations and governments promote online payment as a safe and quick means to exchange actual currency. This cash usage approach is an attempt to digitalize physical currency. In recent years, total and actual digital currencies (i.e., without a physical form) have been launched on a regular basis.

While the origin of money is unknown, coin and paper cash have been used since the seventh century B.C. (Dumas, 2015). Money hasn’t changed much since then, but its purpose hasn’t changed: to facilitate transactions. It is now possible to use credit cards, online banking, and bitcoin.

 

Polillo (2011) proposed an intriguing hypothesis about currency production, arguing that there are general social processes that allow for many types of networks.

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency that is based on the cutting-edge blockchain technology. Its clients include small businesses. Cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency that is based on the cutting-edge blockchain technology. Its users include small businesses, financial technology startups, and retail customers who use it to send money across borders and as an investment asset. Crypto assets, such as Bitcoin and its predecessors, also known as altcoins, have grown in popularity as a result of their widespread acceptance and use for purchases, trading, and banking. As of April 2021, the most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has a total daily exchange volume of over $38.68 billion and a market valuation of $123.12 billion. (http://www.nairametrics.com).

Because it costs far less than many commercial banks in Africa, which charge exorbitant fees in an unpredictable currency market and unreliable economic ecosystem, it is a cheaper way for individuals and entrepreneurs to send funds to everyone around the world for remittance, vendors, e-commerce shopping, and to and from friends and family members located abroad.

As a result of smartphone saturation, many Africans in metropolitan areas have limited Internet access, and such platforms have made bitcoin adoption accessible to all via mobile.

Financial technology businesses in Africa are using crypto-assets to disrupt the market with developing technology like mobile currency. They continue to use Blockchain and cryptocurrencies to streamline their operations both in Africa and around the world.

In addition, in order to satisfy transnational vendors and customers, many African enterprises and startups are accepting and paying in cryptocurrencies such as XRP, bitcoin, and bitcoin cash. Payfast, Gemini, Coinbase, Luno, Bitpay, Bitstamp, Bithumb, Binance, and other innovative payment gateways and exchanges based in Africa and around the world have made this viable for many Africans.

Luno Exchange, based in South Africa, is the continent’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. It was founded in 2013. It is the first crypto exchange to be based in Africa, with offices in Nigeria and South Africa, and has over a million members in over 40 countries. The crypto trading pairs ZAR/BTC and NGN/BTC are available.

 

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, crypto assets such as bitcoin have become increasingly popular.

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The primary goal of this research is to evaluate the rise of cryptocurrencies and their use in Africa. The goal of this research is to see if Africa’s unreliable indigenous currencies contributed to the rise in cryptocurrency adoption across the continent. This research also looks into whether the high level of economic unpredictability in most of Africa makes cryptocurrencies a feasible medium for asset management rather than storing capital.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

In this study, the following null hypotheses are formulated and tested:

H01: The use of cryptocurrencies in Africa has not been aided by the continent’s unreliable indigenous currencies.

 

H02: Because of the high level of economic instability in most parts of Africa, cryptocurrencies are not a suitable asset management tool.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This research will assist all African countries and the rest of the globe since it will highlight the benefits of cryptocurrencies and how they contribute to a sustainable asset management medium. This research will also assist African governments and the rest of the globe in recognizing the need to stabilize their economies and increase the value of their indigenous currencies. This research will also serve as a benchmark for students, academics, and researchers who may want to do future research on this or a related topic.

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study would enlist the participation of employees from Paystack, Flutterwave, Remita, and Interswitch in Lagos State.

LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

Poor time allocated for the investigation, inadequate literature on this topic, and insufficient funds were among the primary obstacles that presented a difficulty to the researcher while carrying out this study.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

ASSESSMENT is the act or occurrence of making a decision on something.

SURGE: a forceful forward or upward movement, usually caused by a crowd or a natural force like the tide.

CRYPTOCURRENCY: is a digital currency that may be used to purchase goods and services, but it is secured by an online ledger and powerful cryptography. The majority of interest in these unregulated currencies is for profit trading, with speculators driving values high at times.

USAGE: the act of putting something to use or the state of being put to use.

AFRICA is one of the world’s seven continents. Africa is the world’s second-largest continent and the world’s second-most populous continent, both after Asia. It covers around 30.3 million km2 (including surrounding islands).

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