BitcoinFundi, a bitcoin exchange launched by Zimbabwean startup BitFinance, has added litecoin and Dash trading pairs to its online platform. Previously, bitcoin was the only cryptocurrency available on the exchange.
According to the Zimbabwe-based news site Techzim, BitFinance stated that the move was part of their strategy to widen the scope of the BitcoinFundi exchange and bring digital currency trading to an increased number of Africans:
We are scaling our exchange services, providing more scope and widening the number of crypto-currencies available to those interested in digital assets. Until now, only Bitcoin trades were possible. These additional currency options are in line with our strategy as we scale up our exchange and its offering. This is also in line with our overall pan-African expansion plan.
More than 80% of African adults do not currently have access to bank accounts, and many of the continent’s residents suffer from hyperinflationary currencies. CCN’s own Frisco d’Anconia recently detailed how difficult it is for Zimbabweans to make a simple bank transaction. Consequently, this region could prove fertile ground for cryptocurrency adoption.
Early reports indicate that optimism is well-founded. Just this week, Gareth Grobler – founder of South African digital currency exchange Ice3x – estimated that as many as 100,000 South Africans have begun trading in bitcoin. But with 326 million unbanked adults, Africa remains a largely untapped market.
One hurdle BitcoinFundi and other African exchanges must overcome is trading volume. According to the BitcoinFundi website, less than 1 BTC has traded on the exchange in the past 24 hours, and the monthly total is about 17. Even Luno, the largest exchange to offer South African Rand (ZAR) trading pairs, has a daily BTC/ZAR volume of less than $1 million.
As a result of this low volume, coins on the BitcoinFundi platform can be much more expensive than the global average. Bitcoin, for instance, is currently priced at $3,100 – far above the CoinMarketCap average of $2,577. Techzim reports that Dash is currently trading at $197, which is close to the CMC average of $194. Litecoin, on the other hand, is trading at $55 – more than $13 higher than the CMC price.
Nevertheless, the outlook for bitcoin adoption in Africa remains bright, despite these (hopefully temporary) growing pains.
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