A study by the Moroccan think tank Policy Center for the New South (PCNS) indicates that Africa has a total of 55.3 million cryptocurrency holders in 33 countries.

According to the study “The emergence of cryptocurrencies in Africa: reality or overvaluation?” whose report was published in December 2022, only three countries, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya, account for about 36.14 million of the total number, which is about 65% or two-thirds.

Individually, the study report indicates that Nigeria is even more dominant, with around 22.3 million headlines representing 40.5% of the 33 African countries surveyed.

South Africa is found to have around 7.7 million holders while Kenya has approximately 6 million cryptocurrency holders.

The report also reveals the ratio of cryptocurrency holders to a country’s population, with the top 3 countries being the only ones where at least 10% of the population hold cryptocurrencies. Here we see that:

  • South Africa ranks first with 12.27% of holders in the population
  • Kenya’s proportionality is 11.85%
  • Nigeria, the most populous state in Africa, is 10.33%

For the rest of the countries surveyed, the PCNS study found that the share of cryptocurrency holders ranges from one to five percent, with the following countries leading this category:

  • Ghanaian (4.3%)
  • Togo (4.22%)
  • Cape Verde (1%) is the worst ranked

Meanwhile, in Seychelles, where major cryptocurrency exchanges such as Huobi and KuCoin are domiciled, the percentage of cryptocurrency holders in relation to its estimated 90,000+ population is 1.33%.

“Such an emergence owes nothing to chance. Demographic, urban and economic factors typical of the continent explain it in part. The other explanatory part is linked to the technology of cryptocurrencies, [how this] allows the transfer of capital faster and at lower cost”, says the report.

In its home country of Morocco, think tank PCNS found that the number of people holding cryptocurrencies in Morocco reached 1.15 million people in 2022, generating a GDP per capita of $8,612.

However, Morocco is among the 7 countries that have banned cryptocurrencies, according to the study. The list includes:

  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Uganda

In jurisdictions that have banned or restricted the use of cryptocurrencies, such as Nigeria, the report warns that now is the time to consider regulation.

While the exact number of cryptocurrency holders in countries like Kenya remains debatable, the study is a good indicator of where adoption is taking place.

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