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Seychelles lagging behind African counterparts in crypto ownership |02 September 2022

Seychelles lagging behind African counterparts in crypto ownership

A new study has revealed that Seychelles lags behind other African nations in terms of cryptocurrency ownership, with an estimated 1,257 crypto owners amid the 100,000 plus population.

The study, published by TripleA, a crypto payments gateway licensed by the Monetary Authority Singapore (MAS) earlier this week, estimates global crypto ownership at 320 million users worldwide.

Asia, the largest continent, surpasses the others with a whopping 130 million crypto owners, followed by the African continent with 53 million crypto owners, just ahead of North America, at 51 million. Around 43 million of the world’s crypto owners are in Europe.

Fast gaining a reputation for having the highest crypto adoption rates in the world, Nigeria ranks fourth in the world, leading the continent with the highest number of crypto owners on the continent, at 22 million.  

As highlighted by the Triple A’s global ranking, Africa has fast been catching up with the rest of the world in terms of people who own digital currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), and Ethereum (ETH), two of the most popular and highly-valued crypto currencies in the world.  

Despite ranking fourth globally, behind USA (46 million, India (27 million) and Pakistan (26 million), the most populous country in Africa also leads the world in terms of the number of Google searches for ‘bitcoin’, and other crypto keyword searches.

Over 2020, the country was named as one of the world’s top crypto traders, and the “highest performing nation in the world” when it comes to Bitcoin interest. A BBC report dated February 2021 found that “more cryptocurrency trading goes on in Nigeria than anywhere else in the world”, making Nigeria “a global leader in Bitcoin trade”.

Topping the list for the African continent, Nigeria is followed by South Africa, where crypto ownership is estimated at 7.7 million, with Kenya in third position with 6.1 million crypto owners. Egypt and Tanzania complete Africa’s top five, with a significant proportion of crypto owners.

Within the region, Madagascar’s crypto ownership is estimated at just fewer than 510,000, representing 1.76 percent of its population. Ownership in Mauritius stands at 23,208, while the Maldives’ figure stands at 6,943, all ahead of Seychelles, home to just over 1200 crypto owners.

According to Triple A’s data, in 2021, Bitcoin reached an annual growth rate of 60 percent, and the cryptocurrency market is predicted to grow with a compound annual growth rate of 56.4 percent from 2019 to 2025.

The cryptocurrency market in Africa is fast-accelerating, although it remains largely unregulated in most of Africa.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) earlier this month spelled out a number of actions, urging authorities to curb the expansion of cryptocurrencies in developing countries, and to be mindful of the “threats of digital currencies to financial stability, domestic resource mobilisation, and the security of monetary systems”.

So as to minimise the risks, UNCTAD proposes mandatory registration of crypto exchanges and associated products such as digital wallets, the provision of a safe and reliable public payment system, and the implementation of global tax coordination to facilitate regulation and information sharing.


Laura Pillay

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