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Fear of the unknown prevent the government of Ghana to accept Bitcoin

07 February 2018 00:00, UTC   |   1304
Fear of the unknown prevent the government of Ghana to accept Bitcoin
By Dennis WAFULA
Most of the bitcoin entrepreneurs and experts are excited about the use​ ​of bitcoins for cross-border transactions and remittances in developing nations. This is very true for most of the African countries such as in Kenya where BitPesa are taking the transfer money market by storm. However, most of the local startup companies in Ghana are taking advantage of the high transaction fees that have been imposed by companies like the Western Union and are offering the Ghanaian population a much cheaper method of receiving and sending money.

The state of Bitcoin

Have you ever taken a close look at the recent Google Trends for the word ‘Bitcoin’? You will have noticed that interest among the Ghanaian population is over the roof. In fact, it is currently ranked at position one in the world in terms of 100% interest. According to the CEO of PMcedis Capital, Ted Owusu Duodu, bitcoin demand in Ghana is very high. However, only a few people are aware of bitcoin especially the youth.

Governments steps to legislation of bitcoin in Ghana

Just like other African governments which are still resistant in accepting the use of bitcoins, government of Ghana has also declined to regulate the use of bitcoins in the country and the legislators have requested all the concerned parties to help to unravel the true identity of bitcoins and implications that might come up as a result of its inconsistency or if it crashes. According to the Ministry of Communications Cyber Security Advisor, Mr. Albert Boasiako, the fear of the unknown is the main reason why the government of Ghana is not willing to adopt cryptocurrency. The adoption issue has been discussed for some time with many people calling the state to find a way of considering it a legal tender. Mr. Albert Boasiako was speaking at the Ghana Blockchain Conference where he revealed the government had fears about cryptocurrency although discussions were still ongoing. He, however, requested the tech community which is already doing cryptocurrency transactions to first clear the mysteries surrounding it.

Buying bitcoins in Ghana

If bitcoin still appears weird to you but you do not want to be left behind, just assume that you are investing your money in diamond or gold and hope that its price will increase later on. Here are different ways you can always use to buy bitcoins in Ghana. You can either buy it from friends or individuals who own bitcoins: This is the most popular method people use in Ghana since they trust their friends more than a website. Another way is purchasing from bitcoin exchange sites.

Mining bitcoins in Ghana

Bitcoin mining in Ghana is a very expensive venture. This is due to the high cost of electricity considering solar power is not that popular. Bitcoin mining is said to consume 0.13% of Ghana global energy, ranking among the countries with highest power consumption in the world. Consumption of power in bitcoin mining increased by nearly 30 % in the last 4 months which is said to be influenced by the massive bull run. If the demand for electricity caused by the mining of bitcoin in Ghana continues to keep the current rate, it is approximated that mining will consume the nation’s electricity supply by 2020.

Currently, mining of bitcoin uses more power than several African countries. Just like in the United States where a household uses between 10,000 to 12,000kWh of electricity every year with over $6000 cash in hand and savings up to $15000 in credit card balances, one will require 10,000 to 12,000kWh of electricity to mine four bitcoins that are slightly under $1000. Mass adoption of bitcoin will result in a very huge increase in consumption of electricity.

Exchanging bitcoins in Ghana

One of the easiest ways you can earn bitcoins in Ghana is to exchange them. You can achieve this by knowing someone who already trades in bitcoin. Exchange of bitcoin is similar to barter system of trading. You can always exchange it for anything else. PMCedi is one company known for exchanging bitcoins and other fiat currencies. They also exchange other cryptocurrencies like Litecoin and Perfect Money.

Bitcoin sellers in Ghana

There are two main places where you can buy bitcoins in Ghana - from local bitcoin traders or through online portals that trades bitcoins. As for the local bitcoin traders, the best place you can go to is LocalBitcoins.com. One main benefit of using this option is that you can always purchase it using mobile money. You can also sell your bitcoins there. Since fewer people trade bitcoins here, it is a great place to start off as a trader. For online portals, there are sites that do that. Since we have not yet tried it out, we cannot assure you of its authenticity. CBTekGhana.com is an online portal that engages in the sale of bitcoin in Ghana. They also deal with Paypal, Perfect Money among others.

Merchants accepting bitcoins

Merchants do accept bitcoins and they also sell them to individuals as their business. However, despite selling and buying bitcoin, regular stores do not accept it as a payment mode since they still don’t know much about it. One main reason why people are buying and selling bitcoins is that it is valued higher than the local currency. People purchase bitcoins, store them for few months as they monitor the exchanges. When it appreciates, they convert it to local currency.

What it takes to buy bitcoin

You do not just sell or buy bitcoins in Ghana like in other countries. In the same way you need a bank account or a wallet to keep your money, you will need to have a digital wallet to help keep your bitcoins. Blockchain.info is one of the best places where you can get your bitcoin wallet. This website is said to have a great platform where one can easily manage his or her bitcoin.

Bitcoin faces resistance in Kenya despite a vibrant community.

Future of Bitcoin in Ghana

Bitcoin has been a controversial topic not only in Ghana but in the whole world. The uncertainty that surrounds it becoming a global currency is what makes it more controversial. No one can tell what future cryptocurrencies hold. As a business person, this is a major security issue since you do not expect to wake up one morning and hear that the new currency is bitcoin when you do not have any. There was a recent event held at iSpace in Accra where a hot debate ensued on whether cryptos have a future or not. This answer has not yet been found.

Conclusion

It will be great if bitcoin become an asset of the government especially in countries where purchasing and storing large foreign currency amounts or physical assets such as gold is difficult. Bitcoin in Ghana can easily become a great case study and an excellent example for the rest of the continents financial systems.

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