Last month, the 2018 Blockchain Africa Conference was held in Johannesburg to discuss blockchain and cryptocurrency development on the African continent.
The conference brought together local and international speakers to discuss the fintech regulatory environment, technology hurdles and opportunities in innovation, in terms of how these areas affect the promotion of the new technology in Africa.
Africa is rarely in the front pages of the news in terms of fintech development, but the continent is an emerging blockchain center. The recent task force set up by the Kenyan government to look into the technology, and growing interest in DLT in countries such as Nigeria, Sudan, Algeria, and Sudan represent a forward-thinking approach by some African governments.
Nabyl Charania, chairman and CEO of Rokk3r, suggests that one of Africa’s major technological hurdles is the problems surrounding crypto mining, due to the continent’s extreme climate not being ideally suited for its development.
Ethiopia’s average temperature is 93 degrees F, plus about 600 million people living in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity at all. It is estimated that by 2040, 530 million people will still not have access to electricity due to population growth. What Africa does have in abundance, though, is the sun.
Bitcoin mining is booming in Cairo is due to its much lower electricity prices. Other countries are less fortunate, but see solar power as a solution. According to Reuters, Morocco’s 800MW Noor Midelt solar complex costing USD 2.4 billion has support from the African Development Bank, the World Bank, the EU and the European Investment Bank.
Seychelles has plans to install Africa’s first floating solar project, along with giant solar farms in South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Morocco and Burkina Faso.
In an article on Greentech Media, author Tam Hunt suggests: “It can make good financial sense to use solar power to mine Bitcoin. Solar plants can provide power that is cheaper than grid power in areas with good insulation and low construction costs. The price of power is also known with some certainty over time because there are no fuel costs and thus no volatility.”
Such investments in energy infrastructure could bring Africa into the global crypto blockchain fold and also overcome the world’s major problem in this field: the unsustainability of crypto mining.