As unemployment troubles African youth, many professionals are now moving to Bitcoin to find earnings in the volatile currency. A small community of young professionals is now teaching others the ‘gospel of bitcoin’, narrating their success stories and encouraging others to adopt cryptos.
Uganda’s gospel of truth
After suffering for years under the dictatorship, the nation’s youth are opening up to digital currencies. Richard M. Bagorogo, one of the lecturers in these meetings said, “What I have earned in one-and-a-half years from bitcoin is more than I earned in 10 years as a teacher. I am living on bitcoin because getting a job in this country is not easy.”
Bagorogo is a star of these events which are being held everywhere in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. He meets young professionals and other tech-savvy youth of the country to encourage them and enter the crypto space. A huge number of these adoptees are millennials looking for jobs. Considering the high unemployment rates, earning through bitcoin trades could be a way to earn a primary income.
There are several stories of bitcoin success like him that are now being taught to other young minds, who are educated but jobless. Bagorogo describes his struggles with early adoption of the currency in great detail. He tells the story of how he could not afford education for his children in the school he taught and how bitcoin helped him holiday in Dubai.
“When I tried to bring my cousins on board, they called my father in the village and said, ‘Your son has gone mad,’” said Bagorogo. He says that he is fascinated with the blockchain concept. Now, he is asking other people to adopt more than two dozen top currencies and start trading.
He added, “For me, I was fascinated by the mathematics behind blockchain technology. But the local man is interested in money, not the mathematics, so I normally sit with them and show them how I get and withdraw my money. Once they see how easy it is, they also want bitcoin.”
Governments are not thrilled
While many people are trying to move the masses with small savings to trade or invest in cryptocurrencies, governments in Africa aren’t thrilled with the idea. They have previously shown grave concerns about money laundering and the use of the digital coins for illicit activities, given then anonymity. The central bank of Uganda has warned investors that plunging in cryptos “is taking a risk in the financial space where there is neither investor protection nor regulatory purview.”
The volatility of these currencies could be another financial hazard for the investors. Bitcoin, for example, rose by 1700% in the last quarter of 2017 to reach a valuation of $19,000. However, since then, its value has come down to only $9,000. By far, there is no sign of a similar upsurge even though experts predict the value to quadruple this year.
In Africa, there is a marked difference in the approach of different economies. While Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Namibia are clearly against the use of digital currencies, countries like South Africa and Tunisia are exploring their options and have a generally favorable view.