Four million Kenyans own cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency adoption continues to be strong in Kenya, according to the latest data shared by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

UNCTAD revealed that Kenyans remain keen on investing and adopting cryptocurrencies, with the ownership of digital assets now increasing to 8.5% of the population (or some four million Kenyans), making it the highest rate of adoption for any African country and the fifth-highest globally.

Countries that have a high rate of cryptocurrency adoption are usually facing serious economic situations, as the UNCTAD’s recent data also reveals.

Ukraine (12.7), the Russian Federation (11.9%), Venezuela (10.3) and Singapore (9.4%) are those ahead of Kenya in terms of adoption.

Out of these, only Singapore is economically stable and the rate of adoption there is associated not so much with avoiding economic malaise as with interest in the underlying technology and the potential of the assets themselves.

UNCTAD noted that one of the key drivers has been the opportunity to remit money quickly, efficiently, and often much cheaper than through traditional banking systems.

Some are also investing in cryptocurrencies hoping that they could protect household savings, although realizing that they would not be able to use it for a while.

UNCTAD is interested in these trends, but it also cautions that the overuse of cryptocurrencies may lead to “financial instability risks”.

“Finally, if left unchecked, cryptocurrencies may become a widespread means of payment and even replace domestic currencies unofficially, which could jeopardize the monetary sovereignty of countries. The use of stablecoins poses the greatest risks in developing countries with unmet demand for reserve currencies”, UNCTAD noted.

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Updated: 07/11/2022 — 17:00