In mid-2021, the entry into the lives of the mainstream by cryptocurrency took a giant leap forward.
The world’s developing economies looked on with great interest as Central American country El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as an official currency and legal tender, suddenly bringing 70% of its previously unbanked population not only right up to date, but into a global ecosystem of distributed products and decentralized finance with far more possibilities and cost effectiveness than those reliant on the policies of a central bank and a defined national currency system.
It was clear that other nations would look to follow this lead, however as yet El Salvador remains the pioneer. In 2022, however, a far bigger step is being taken, this time by a decentralized token which looks set to offer lending across the entire continent of Africa.
With the exception of South Africa, the African continent is a vast, resource-rich expanse which has very little infrastructural or financial development and has a number of countries in which the populations lack financial inclusion.
This is not just a land of opportunity for decentralized finance (DeFi), but an entire continent of opportunity.
Cardano (ADA) has plans to increase its influence across Africa during 2022, and is looking to offer lending via DeFi methodology to the unbanked and excluded populations across the continent.
Charles Hoskinson, the founder of Cardano, publicly stated that IOHK, the company which developed Cardano, plans to build a financial operating system in the second quarter of 2022 that will give Africans access to DeFi services such as loans.
Although he did not specify exactly what other services will be available, loans will likely just be one of them as the plan is to use Cardano to power an entire ecosystem for people in Africa who would otherwise either have no access to financial means, or do not trust their local systems and wish to stabilize their futures by circumventing the traditional and often volatile systems in place.
Charles Hoskinson also touched on NFTs, and how out of the 2 million assets that have thus far been launched on Cardano, most of this has been in the form of NFTs.
It was also disclosed that over 127 projects are currently in the development and coding stage which aim to build decentralized applications (dApps) on the Cardano network, with about 20 to 30 in the pipeline to launch within the next three months.
Charles Hoskinson’s statement, which was published in Nigerian press, considered that “My goal for the second half of 2022 is to figure out how to put all the pieces together to get an end-to-end microfinance transaction on Cardano.”
“So that a real person in Kenya or somewhere with a blockchain-based identity and credit score, stablecoin on the other side, Cardano is the settlement rail. Peer-to-peer, person-to-person, click a button, loan goes to them. They pay it back, (and it) goes to the other side” he said.
This, should it come to fruition, is a major step forward. Given that the empowerment of literally millions of people would become very possible, it is important that regulated exchanges are used, and in particular those with good fiat on and off ramps and secure client asset holdings accounts.
The combination of a fully comprehensive fiscal ecosystem for previously excluded people across a continent with huge potential and a regulated, multi-functional crypto exchange such as CoinMetro would be a formula to seriously move things forward.