For the last three years, Africa has been one of the fastest-growing markets for cryptocurrency adoption in the world. The continent accounts for world’s highest proportion (80%) of crypto retail payments of less than $1,000, according to a recent report by blockchain data firm Chainalysis.
At the same time, Africa has some of the highest grassroots adoption in the world, with Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania all ranking in the top 20 of Global Crypto Adoption Index.
The main reason for such high adoption is that banking facilities in Africa are available to a limited number of people. Those deprived of using the banking system threfore seek bitcoin wallets and other platforms as a source of storing money.
Block Inc, a payments company cofounded by Jack Dorsey (co-founder and former CEO of Twitter) where he serves as CEO and Chairman is keen to partner with companies in the continent that are keen to help secure the Bitcoin Network while at the same time driving adoption.
For instance, Block Inc has directly or through its subsidiaries invested in companies such as Yellow Card Financial and Gridless, companies helping drive Bitcoin adoption in Africa. Most recently, Block led a $2 million seed investment round in Gridless, an East African based bitcoin mining company helping to bring new energy generation to rural communities in Africa.
“At Block, we believe that Bitcoin is a major tool for empowerment. And when you look at mining, especially decentralized mining. It’s critical for resiliency of Bitcoin.” says Thomas Templeton, who is responsible for Bitcoin Mining business and self custody wallet at Block Inc.
According to Thomas, Bitcoin mining is getting more and more concentrated and 50% of the global hash rate is controlled by 0.1% of the firms.
“We took the initiative to make money more decentralized. And so we’re starting to build tools to make money more accessible, easier to use, more reliable while lowering the costs and we can’t do that alone. And so when we came across Gridless, we got very excited because they are doing exactly what we want to do and it’s mining to more parts of the world” Thomas said in an interview with Kenyan Wallstreet.
“Africa is prime example of where Bitcoin mining can really thrive. Especially with all of the renewable resources and renewable energy, whether it is hydro, wind or solar. There’s lots of opportunity here to have renewable enabling mining.” said Thomas.
Asked on whether Block intends to make additional investments in Africa, Thomas says
“Yes, we’re always looking for opportunities to partner. We know we can’t do it alone and we’re not going to build everything to that.”
Thomas adds that Block is keen to partner with companies that decentralize mining whether that’s physical mining other tools be it in hardware, or software. On the software side, Block is keen to partner with companies providing on ramps and off ramps solutions to buy, and sell Bitcoin.