We’re only two weeks into 2021 and trends that are likely to shape the year are emerging. One of the most fascinating is the conversation around decentralisation.
The case for decentralisation is strong in Nigeria, and Africa in general, as we struggle under the weight of high-handed regulation by central authorities: the Lagos state government crippled
certain operations of bike-hailing companies, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is creating bottlenecks
for exporters, and Uganda banned access to social media days to its presidential election.
In spite of this, cryptocurrencies are showing the potential of decentralised systems. In December 2020, the CBN introduced a new policy that hindered the free-flow of money from abroad. Startups in the cryptocurrency space were able to ensure that people without domiciliary accounts could still receive their monies.
With the ineffectiveness of regular bank channels in cross-border trade, cryptocurrencies could also provide a way for African countries to trade under the AfCFTA without any worries about sourcing USD.
Similarly, decentralisation, in the form of cryptocurrencies, has helped peaceful protests like the EndSARS protests in Nigeria where Femco, a non-profit organisation, was at some point only able to get donations through cryptocurrency.
In what other areas could decentralisation help people in Africa? I suspect this conversation will gain traction locally in 2021 and beyond.
I can’t wait to see what new products this brings.