The first global bitcoin event ever to occur in Africa will bring together different people interested in promoting bitcoin on the second-largest continent in the world. The event may become a breakthrough in the spread of the cryptocurrency.

 

“We are excited to announce the first Bitcoin Africa Conference on the 16th and 17th April 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa”, declare the organizers. They are expecting “merchants, investors, venture capitalists, start-ups and bitcoin enthusiasts who are all looking to move bitcoin forward in Africa”. The conference will cover many issues, including the new possibilities that bitcoin can give to individuals and businesses.

It is also hoping to “provide an in-depth understanding” of topics ranging from the nature of bitcoin and blockchain to merchant adoption and financial, legal, and regulatory implications of bitcoin. There will be prominent speakers such as Brock Pierce, director of the Bitcoin Foundation, Marcus Swanepoel, the CEO of the South African cryptocurrency platform BitX, and Elizabeth Rossiello, the founder of the BitPesa remittance service, “the cheapest, fastest and most reliable way to send money to East Africa”.

Currently, the bitcoin network in Africa is far less developed than in Europe, Asia, or America. Most Africans have never even heard about bitcoin (though, according to a recent study, the same is true about Americans). Poverty and the lack of technical sophistication have impeded the development of cryptocurrencies in Africa. However, the continent’s perceived “backwardness” can also become its trump card. According to Rossiello, it is easier to develop bitcoin in Africa because there are no obstacles similar to the sophisticated banking system in the West.

It can be compared with the development of the telephone industry: in Africa, landline phones were never widespread so they do not hinder the expansion of mobile networks. And the growth of the mobile phone industry in Africa is tremendous. According to the World Bank, mobile phones are directly responsible for five million jobs in Africa and contribute 7% to the GDP of the continent. Cryptocurrencies may bring Africans even greater possibilities.