Despite representing only 2.3% of global transaction volume, recent data highlights the significant penetration of cryptocurrencies in key markets within Sub-Saharan Africa. Crypto has become an integral part of daily life for many residents in the region. Sub-Saharan Africa’s share of Bitcoin (BTC) transactions stands at 9.3%, surpassing regions like North America (9.0%) and Eastern Europe (8.2%).
Nigeria stands out as the epitome of crypto adoption within Sub-Saharan Africa. Between July 2022 and June 2023, Nigeria recorded transaction volumes of nearly $60 billion, making it the largest crypto market in the region by a wide margin. To put this into perspective, the entire region’s total transaction volume during the same period was $117.1 billion, with Nigeria contributing almost half of that figure.
South Africa Emerges
South Africa emerges as the second-largest crypto market within the Sub-Saharan Africa region, with trading volumes exceeding $20 billion during the same period. Kenya, Mauritius, and Ghana follow closely as the third, fourth, and fifth largest crypto markets within the region, respectively.
BTC as an Alternative Store of Value
The data from Chainalysis suggests that residents of Sub-Saharan Africa increasingly view BTC as an alternative store of value. With a regional volume share of 9.3%, Sub-Saharan Africa surpasses all other regions, including North America and Eastern Europe. Rising inflation and debt in many countries within the region have made cryptocurrency an attractive option for preserving savings and achieving greater financial autonomy. Inflation-hit countries like Ghana have seen residents turning to BTC as a hedge against economic instability.
Shift Towards Stablecoins:
While BTC remains the dominant cryptocurrency in the region, there appears to be a growing shift toward stablecoins. The co-founder of Nigeria-based cryptocurrency exchange Busha, Moyo Sodipo, suggests that the drop in BTC’s price may be driving users in the region toward stablecoins as a means of diversification. Despite this shift, crypto activity in Sub-Saharan Africa remains robust and is expected to continue evolving.
The increasing prominence of cryptocurrencies in Sub-Saharan Africa underscores their role in addressing economic challenges and providing financial empowerment to residents across the region. As crypto adoption continues to grow, it will be interesting to observe how the landscape evolves and adapts to the unique needs and opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa.