“Finally back in Ghana,” Jack Dorsey, former Twitter CEO, tweeted on Monday, December 5, 2022. Jack was in Ghana to attend the Africa ₿itcoin Conference.
Later in 2021, Twitter launched its first African office in the now-defunct Ghana, solidifying Jack’s interest in the continent.
The conference is organized by “Africans… who believe in the Bitcoin revolution and are building a movement to drive its adoption.” Although the adoption of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been affected by strict regulations across the continent, Africa remains crypto-active territory.
According to Chainalysis, a blockchain forensics firm, the African cryptocurrency market grew by more than 1,200% between 2020 and 2021. They added that four African countries (Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania) are in the top 20 for cryptocurrency adoption. Worldwide.
“In Europe and the US, Bitcoin is a want. In Africa and some other countries, Bitcoin is a necessity.” —Jack Dorsey
Jack, who is now the founder of Block Inc, a digital payments company, and American entertainment mogul Jay-Z, launched the ₿itcoin Trust (₿Trust) to invest 500 bitcoins ($21.5 million) to enable the Bitcoin adoption around the world. starting with Africa and India. Out of 700 applications, Jack named four Africans, Nigerians Obi Nwosu, Ojoma Ochai and Abubakar Nur Khalil, along with South African Carla Kirk-Cohen, to lead the initiative. They were all present at the Africa Bitcoin Conference.
“My main goal is to see the bitcoin ecosystem grow in Africa. There is a huge developer deficit in the Bitcoin ecosystem, while there are plenty of talented developers here in Africa and the global south. With Btrust we now have funding and we are decentralizing the pool of developers supporting developers in these regions,” Khalil said in January 2022, shortly after his appointment.
Jack believes that Africa will “probably” lead the world towards a Bitcoin future. In October 2020, during the national ENDSars protest against police brutality in Nigeria:Jack actively supported Bitcoin fundraising which was established to raise funds for the protest.
In February 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced a complete ban on buying and trading cryptocurrencies in the country.
Block Inc Invests in Kenya-Based Bitcoin Mining Company Gridless
One day after Jack tweeted that he was finally back in Ghana, His company, Block Inc, and Los Angeles-based Bitcoin-focused venture capital firm Stillmark, announced an initial $2 million investment in Gridless, a Kenya-based bitcoin mining company helping bring new generation of energy to rural communities in Africa.
Gridless builds and operates bitcoin mining sites alongside small-scale renewable energy producers in rural parts of Africa where excess energy is not used. The company acts as an anchor tenant, finances the construction, and manages the operation of data centers in rural communities where traditional industrial or commercial customers are unavailable.
In its first year, Gridless has contracted five pilot projects in rural Kenya with HydroBox, an African hydropower company, three of which are currently operational. The company plans to expand to other geographies in East Africa in the near future.
In 2020, more than 50% of people in Africa did not have electricity. There is an immense demand for reliable, clean and affordable power, but mini-grid power generators are fighting for sustainability. Gridless believes that bitcoin mining can play a critical role as a buyer of first and last resort in creating more sustainable energy production and increasing electrification of local communities in the region.
“While bitcoin mining has been dominant in North America, Europe and Asia, Africa presents a great opportunity to further diversify mining around the world, helping to better protect the network.” erik hermann, CEO of Gridless, said. “Renewable energy is abundant on the continent. This presents excellent profit potential for both power generators and miners, as well as the ability to make a real positive impact in the communities where it is used.”
2022: Before Jack, CZ visited Africa. Why? crypto!
The founder and CEO of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency and blockchain infrastructure provider, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao was in Africa in July 2022, where he met with Alassane Dramane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire and Macky Sall, President of Senegal, as part of his journey to connect with Binance users around the world and engage with lawmakers.
“Africa is ready for crypto adoption. 10-20% banked. Needs financial access and inclusion. Blockchain provides that with a smartphone,” CZ tweeted. Two months after his trip to Africa, Binance appointed nine global business and political leaders to his advisory board, including two from Africa: Ibukun Awosika and Leslie Maasdorp.
Said “[with the board, we will] Check out the most complex regulatory, compliance, political, and social issues that we, as a company, and the entire crypto industry will face today and in the future. I am honored that our company has the credibility to call such distinguished individuals to sit on our board.”
In recent times, some African countries like Uganda have taken a mixed stance on crypto transactions. In their latest finance law amendments, Nigeria and Kenya have moved to tax crypto transactions.