Luno can see that as cryptocurrencies develop over the next ten years, they can become part of everyone’s lives, solving many of the issues currently associated with existing fiat currencies.
Commenting after his keynote at AfricaCom, Swanepoel said: “Cryptocurrencies are on a growth path which can help solve the fundamental problems of the existing monetary system, which in many parts of Africa is not fit for purpose. At the moment we tend to hear about the perceived issues with crypto and although these stories make headlines, they also serve to make us forget the problems which have beset the traditional financial systems in Africa.
“Africans using traditional currencies are often faced with high transaction costs, inflation and currency devaluation, exorbitant interest rates and high levels of fraud. Coupled with all this – accessing the existing system (despite the fact that many have a mobile phone and conduct other elements of their lives online) is still incredibly restrictive.”
This has, in turn, led to a lack of financial inclusion and huge unbanked deposits, which does not help people or nations and severely hampers economic growth and financial freedom.
“It will take time for the full benefits of cryptocurrencies to be seen. Cryptocurrencies have only effectively been in general circulation for five to ten years, so it is still nascent, but like the early adopters of the internet, the long-term benefits are very clear.”
Swanepoel had a clear message for the conference audience which was that cryptocurrencies are alive and well. They are about to enter a very significant and exciting period, and through forward-thinking and proactive regulation, countries across Africa can set themselves up for future growth and success.
Luno is continuing to put its support behind regulators who are embracing cryptocurrencies and which recognise all the long term benefits a secure and transparent blockchain system offers, especially for developing markets. As the company expands across Africa, collaboration with regulators, governments and the broader financial ecosystem will be key.
Swanepoel concluded: “Cryptocurrencies will be life-changing for many millions of people in Africa. For the unbanked and those that lose out every time they deal with the existing financial services sector, there lies ahead a better way of moving, storing and exchanging value. We just have to remember that cryptocurrencies are very new, and will need time to develop to its full potential.
“Luno is at the forefront of bringing this inevitable change to the world in a responsible way. Markets which are prepared to see the potential and work with the cryptocurrency industry will very quickly move ahead of jurisdictions which refuse to change. We’ve seen this in every sector which technology touches, and the financial technology and cryptocurrency sector will be no different.”