Africa fell in love with crypto. Now, it’s complicated

Article by Martin K.N Siele: “Chiamaka, a former product manager at a Nigerian cryptocurrency startup, has sworn off digital currencies. The 22-year-old has weathered a layoff and lost savings worth 4,603,500 naira ($9,900) after the collapse of FTX in November 2022. She now works for a corporate finance company in Lagos, earning a salary that is 45% lower than her previous job.

“I used to be bullish on crypto because I believed it could liberate Africans financially,” Chiamaka, who asked to be identified by a pseudonym as she was concerned about breaching her contract with her current employer, told Rest of World. “Instead, it has managed to do the opposite so far … at least to me and a few of my friends.”

Chiamaka is among the tens of millions of Africans who bought into the cryptocurrency frenzy over the last few years. According to one estimate in mid-2022, around 53 million Africans owned crypto — 16.5% of the total global crypto users. Nigeria led with over 22 million users, ranking fourth globally. Blockchain startups and businesses on the continent raised $474 million in 2022, a 429% increase from the previous year, according to the African Blockchain Report. Young African creatives also became major proponents of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), taking inspiration from pop culture and the continent’s history. Several decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), touted as the next big thing, emerged across Africa…(More)”.