Bitcoin has seen its fair share of ups and downs (not just price volatility, but criticism and forks too) over the 10 years plus that it has been in existence. However, one use case has remained constant whether in Africa or anywhere else on the planet - it is, most times, one of the cheapest, fastest, most trustworthy methods to transfer currency anywhere on earth.
This money transfer use case, which is also my personal use case for Bitcoin, i.e. transferring money between different countries or paying for services in other countries, has been proven many times but two of the notable examples of this come from "Loaded."
On 1 May 2019, Loaded transferred 40,000 BTC in one transaction. What made this fascinating is not that they hold so much Bitcoin (this has been known for a while), it is that the Bitcoin network only charged them just under $4 in transaction fees, $3.93 to be specific. A tiny amount considering that 40,000 Bitcoins were worth approximately $212 million at the time of the transaction.
Money transfer in Africa
If you regularly transfer funds between African countries you'll be aware what few options exist outside of traditional banks. Not only that, given the limited options which operate in a highly regulated foreign exchange sector which sometimes sees governments altogether decide to ban (or shutdown) money transfers for dubious reasons, the transaction fees as a percentage of the money being sent/received are borderline abusive, especially for poorer people sending generally smaller amounts.
As if that is not enough, you have to supply all manner of personal data short of a blood sample before you can send the money. Although submitting a blood sample could soon happen if Kenyan authorities get their way.
This is why Bitcoin, to me at least, is so appealing as a method of money transfer between different countries. Low fees, guaranteed transfer, almost instantaneous.
This was not the first time that Loaded moved 40,000 BTC and got charged low transaction fees. During January 2018 they moved the same amount of Bitcoins (then worth approximately $400 million) and got only charged $1 in transaction fees.
Cover image credit: Icarus Bitcoin Mining rig. Wikimedia Commons