- What: Annual Blockchain Africa Conference, organized by Bitcoin Events
- Where: Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, with live streaming
- When: March 18-19, 2021
- The African continent is becoming a focal interest in the blockchain arena because of the technology’s potential to rapidly bring an enormous population’s economy onto the world stage
- Lineup includes 35 speakers on expert topics surrounding blockchain and cryptocurrencies
The global adoption and application of the Internet for endless lifestyle-enabling functions is serving as a prototype for the developing blockchain universe as it advances from experimental uses toward mainstream functionality.
While the Bitcoin cryptocurrency gave blockchain its first real-world expression in 2009, nearly two decades after the immutable file-sharing technology was first outlined (https://ibn.fm/RFkSZ), the alt-coin field has seen rapid expansion and fluctuation during the decade since, making tech millionaires out of many early adopters, Investopedia reports.
The visionaries of the growing worldwide blockchain adoption movement are now watching its emergence on the African continent with particular interest, anticipating that decentralized, independent-of-government trading platforms could bring an enormous new population’s economies onto the world stage in a relatively rapid amount of time. And in such an arena, Bitcoin Events’ annual Blockchain Africa Conference aims to open people’s eyes to the technology’s potential during a two-day forum slated spring (https://ibn.fm/SHkU3).
Bitcoin Events’ previous six African conferences have built a portfolio of 170 speakers and 2,000 delegates from over 40 countries addressing the blockchain’s utility and expectations for the future.
The 2021 conference, with less than 100 days remaining until it opens its doors, has thus far lined up 35 speakers and more than 500 attendees. In addition to global experts on blockchain’s viability, the conference will feature the usual opportunities to visit vendor exhibitions and connect with professionals across industries such as finance, insurance, logistics, utilities, legal and media.
Speaker topics will include the taxation of blockchain technologies in South Africa, using blockchain for societal wellbeing and in healthcare, and the regulatory control of blockchain, as well as a number of cryptocurrency-themed topics such as central bank use of digital currencies, Facebook’s foray into crypto, cross-border payments and stable coins in the import / export arena.
The conference series has become heavily focused on the technology that is foundational to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin instead of concentrating on the financial crypto trading space itself, reflecting perhaps the preferences of many Africans to entrepreneurially develop on their own terms, according to Cointelegraph (https://ibn.fm/RYMlQ). The technology is being touted in Africa and elsewhere as a means of securing democratic elections against fraudulent behavior, for example. The transparent and traceable nature of blockchain transactions could eliminate the need for human vote counting as well as the ability of bad actors to tamper with physical ballots, Investopedia notes.
Still, the 2020 conference showed that there is a growing interest and demand for trading on the continent. U.S. blockchain research firm Chainalysis reported that overseas labor remittances as well as business development helped drive monthly cryptocurrency transfers under $10,000 to and from Africa to a peak of $316 million in June — a 55 percent YOY increase (https://ibn.fm/A4jNk).
Binance, one of the world’s largest exchanges by trade volume, emerged last year as a major force in Africa’s cryptocurrency markets with trading support in 35 African countries, which suggests that the continental demand for cryptocurrency trading platforms is on the rise, Cointelegraph’s article states.
Binance used the 2020 Blockchain Africa Conference to announce its launch of trading support for South African Rands as part of its growth.
“When Binance came to Nigeria, it afforded the opportunity to many to buy and trade. I was able to perform fiat-crypto transactions I could never before. They have more liquidity than other exchanges within the region, recruit local community managers from the cryptocurrency communities in the region, and they provide free rewards to get new people to sign up,” a Nigeria-based blockchain consultant told Chainalysis.
In the same light, the CEO of blockchain investment firm 100X Advisors, Ian Balina, spoke in a recent interview with Blockchain Africa Conference media partner InvestorBrandNetwork (IBN) about a conversation he had with a Lagos, Nigeria merchant in which the merchant outlined the “very cumbersome” challenges of hiring overseas developers for his startup because the naira, Nigeria’s local currency, is not online payment-friendly and merchants have to resort to a complicated process for trading in hard-to-come-by U.S. dollars.
“It makes it very challenging for honest people (in Nigeria) to make a living online,” Balina said (https://ibn.fm/gMNCS). “But now because of bitcoin, they can pay contractors in bitcoin. They can become a part of the global economy through bitcoin, or even stable coins in crypto.”
In November, another example of crypto capability was manifest when the Nigerian government locked police brutality protesters out of local payment resource access, and the tech-savvy demonstrators were able to turn to bitcoin to raise around 40 percent of the nearly $400,000 they secured to help support their cause, according to a Quartz Media report (https://ibn.fm/n7EJc).
Underscoring the timeliness of the Blockchain Africa Conference, Paxful, a leading peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace, reports Nigeria is the second-highest volume bitcoin trading nation in the world behind the United States, transacting more than $566 million in the cryptocurrency during the past five years, according to Quartz.
For information on registration and tickets for the 2021 event as well as how to participate as a presenter, visit the event’s website at https://blockchainafrica.co/register-for-blockchain-africa-conference-2021/.
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