Bitcoin, the planet’s original and dominant decentralized digital currency, is in the global news cycle, but not for familiar reasons. The cryptocurrency invented in 2008, which first appeared online in 2009, was trading in the high $60,000 range at the end of last year. However, now its price has dropped to $20,000 and below, with investors predicting it will plunge to sub-$10,000 levels soon.
The volatile nature of cryptocurrencies is why many stay away from investing in digital money. The fact that this is also an asset not backed by anything in the physical world is another reason why many intelligent individuals will not touch virtual coins. Yet, Africa seems to be going crypto crazy. So much so that recently, the Central African Republic adopted Bitcoin as its official currency, becoming the world’s second nation to do so, after El Salvador. Now Uganda is expressing similar interest, with the country’s national bank admitting that it is toying with the idea of allowing crypto payments on Ugandan soil.
In the subheadings below, an exploration follows regarding the Bitcoin situation in The Cradle of Humanity.
Is There Bitcoin in Kenya?
According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), which regulates international and domestic money transfer services, no Kenyan entity currently has a license to provide money remittance products and services in Kenya via Bitcoin. Hence, Bitcoin and other cryptos are not legal tenders in the country. That means no protection exists for people using platforms that hold virtual currencies if these businesses fail.
That said, buying and selling digital asset classes such as cryptocurrencies is not illegal in Kenya since the nation’s government has chosen not to criminalize their trading. The CBK reiterates that the public should desist from transacting with cryptos. Yet, there is nothing illegal about the practice. No law bans it.
Per the Cryptocurrency Adoption Index rankings, Kenya holds the number twelve spot of the twenty-seven countries surveyed. In Africa, it trails only behind Nigeria and Ghana. Furthermore, 4.8 million, or 16% of adult Kenyan internet users, own cryptos, making the country’s Bitcoin ownership average well above the global one, as 54.7% of Kenyan crypto owners admit to holding Bitcoins.
The surge of interest in digital asset classes has gotten boosted by a vibrant Kenyan crypto social media community, one that is particularly active on Twitter. Multiple cryptocurrencies can be used on Bitcoin deposit casinos accessible by Kenyans, contributing to their popularity in the country.
Exchange Wallets in Kenya
Six credible online cryptocurrency exchanges accept Kenyans to join their platforms and trade cryptos. These are Binance, Kraken, FTX, CEX.io, Coinmama, and Changelly.
The most popular option of the six listed above is Binance boasting an immense Kenyan user pool. It processes over one billion dollars daily. Kraken allows the selling and buying of Bitcoins with three forms of payment and is the preferred choice for many.
The first for any Kenyan resident/citizen to join a crypto exchange where they can hold Bitcoins in a wallet and trade these coins is to complete a Know Your Client procedure. That is an identity verification process that involves users supplying copies of their national identity card, passport, or driver’s license. The requirements to complete these steps are users verifying their account through SMS, owning a debit/credit card to purchase cryptocurrencies, and understanding how to use an exchange’s built-in wallet.
Most hard-core crypto fanatics suggest keeping Bitcoins in an offline hardware wallet, such as Ledger Nano X, which connects to desktop computers through a USB port.
M-PESA, Africa’s most successful mobile money service, regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya, allows users to store and transfer monetary funds via their mobile phones. The service permits customers from South Africa, Tanzania, India, and Kenya to use M-Pesa to pay for BTC bought from vendors on Paxful. This peer-to-peer fintech platform facilitates crypto trading.
Location of Bitcoin ATMs
Various websites can get found on the internet claiming to list every Bitcoin ATM on Earth. The two most famous such services are Coin Map and Coin ATM Radar, and they claim that there is only one Bitcoin ATM in Kenya, located in the capital of Nairobi, in Kenrail Towers, on Ring Rd Parklands.
The machine was introduced to the Kenrail Towers complex in 2021, representing one in six thousand active such devices globally. The first-ever crypto ATM appeared in Canada.
The Nairobi machine does not permit the conversion of fiat money to cryptos and supports a minimum value of 500 Kenyan Shillings against Bitcoin and Litecoin. It and others like it aim to replicate the mainstream ATM model.
In some countries, Bitcoin ATMs have adopted the charming moniker, BTMs.
This article was written in collaboration with legit iGaming analysts.