Kenya steadily climbing up the ladder of Web3 in Africa as a center of innovation and blockchain adoption
- To increase crypto awareness in Africa, various companies and countries have established several Web3 education programs in Kenya
- EthSafari, an Ethereum-sponsored event, is among Kenya’s successful crypto events.
- The Binance East Africa tour kicked off at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Nairobi, where at least 3000 students participated in weekly events
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Kenya has proven its worth as an African Web3 Centre as the country steadily dominates the ecosystem. Despite initial hostility, crypto in Kenya has grown and is now a well-known alternative source of income. Throughout Africa, various organizations aim to establish several crypto events and educational programs to increase awareness.
Unfortunately, this primary goal has had various hiccups along the way, and now only a few countries shie within the Web3 spotlight. Kenya is among the few countries that have truly embraced the decentralized ecosystem. Although, what makes Kenya stand among the few dominant players in the crypto space? But what makes it still retain its momentum despite open hostility from its very government?
Here are the answers that will shed light on Kenya’s current position in the Web3 ecosystem.
Kenya’s rocky history as an African Web3 Centre
It is a well-known fact that initially, many governments in Africa have zero faith in crypto and the entire Web3 community. Top African Web2 centres such as Nigeria and Seychelles were first sceptical of the notion of digital currency, crypto in Kenya was no different. In 2015, the Central Bank of Kenya issued a public alert banning the commercial use of cryptocurrencies. They, like many others, saw only the potential dangers of unregulated digital currencies. These fears were valid, but their aggressive take on cryptocurrency prevented only businesses from dealing with it, not individuals.
This crypto ban became essentially difficult to spread crypto awareness in Africa. One of the crucial problems in establishing more African Web3 centres is the lack of knowledge.
Kenya had a headstart as an African Web3 Centre
Despite initially having a rocky start, crypto in Kenya steadily grew in popularity faster than the rest. This is primarily because Kenya was the birthplace of the very first iteration of digital currency in Africa. Some may even state that the creation of the Mpesa essentially opened the minds of Kenyans to a decentralized financial system.
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The concept of digital money awed the country since its essentially made work easier for Kenyan businesses and users. In just under five years after its launch, Mpesa had 19.5 million mobile money users in Kenya. This represented 83% of Kenya’s adult population at the time. Due to their success story, banks and telecoms worldwide initiated hundreds of Mobile money applications replicating Mpesa’s primary functionality.
Mpesa’s very concept ushered in the notion of decentralized money, and thus when the revolutionary idea of crypto and Web3 dawned on the country, many individuals participated. During the Golden Age of Bitcoin, when its prices were over $65,000, Kenya was among the few African countries that benefited. It had a substantial trading volume of $110,000 in December 2016. It is important to remember that at the time of crypto awareness in Africa, Web3 education programs were virtually non-existent.
Establishments of African crypto events
Another significant factor that makes Kenya stand out as an African Web3 Centre is the numerous African crypto event it held over the years. As time passed, various organizations realized blockchain technology within Africa would essentially thrive given its slow pace with Web2. Unfortunately, one crucial demerit came to light, the ack of crypto awareness in Africa. This significantly hinders the progress of Web3 in Africa till today.
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Fortunately, most companies have opted to host several African crypto events, and Kenya is usually the first option.
Throughout the decades, Kenya has hosted several African crypto events and hackathons. Each has significantly boosted crypto awareness in Africa.
EthSafari, an Ethereum-sponsored event, is among the few successful crypto events within the African web3 centre. The event was a success as Kenya’s web3 community turned up to support and embrace the Web3 ecosystem. The event hosted several learning, hacking, speakers, discussions and celebrations to showcase the various innovations and uses the Web3 community had to offer.
Sunny Satva, a core contributor to ETHSafari stated that the event aimed at not only showing Kenya’s web3 community the benefits of cryptocurrency but also allowing the fraternity to grow and show others that crypto can indeed pave the way to a new era. The event started from Kilifi to Nairobi and saw many participants.
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Last year Polygon hosted its first Web3 boot camp in Kenya. This African crypto event gathered developers throughout the country to train and improve their expertise in developing blockchain applications.
Xend Finance and Polygon sponsored the event, and many were intrigued by the number of developers who showed up. According to their reports, over 5000 developers from 43 countries registered for the boot camp. Unfortunately, the program could only handle 2700 developers since each underwent an eight-week intensive mentorship program. According to Polygon, a majority of the developers who passed the initial merit mainly came from two dominant countries; Nigeria and Kenya.
Polkadot, an upcoming crypto exchange platform, was also not left behind. The franchise plans on hosting several crypto events within the country especially since it has established its very community; Polkadot and Kusama.
This new establishment caters to technical and non-technical individuals who wish to learn about crypto in Kenya. The group has planned several events that increase crypto awareness in Africa. In addition, the franchise also offers various Web3 education programs to help improve the level of expertise even among experienced crypto traders.
Kenya is at the forefront of Web3 education
To increase crypto awareness in Africa, various companies and countries have established several Web3 education programs within several African counties. It is important to remember that crypto in Kenya is not the only way for the country t benefit from Web3. Blockchain technology offers numerous benefits outside the crypto ecosystem leading to several innovations that have transformed the ecosystem.
Binance is among the few organizations with well-established roots within the country. It has hosted several Web3 education programs throughout the country and has led to an increase in crypto and blockchain awareness.
Binance education programs
In September 2022, Binance announced a tour of East African universities to educate them on blockchain, crypto and Web3. To no one’s surprise, Kenya is at the top of its list.
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The tour kicked off at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Nairobi, where at least 3000 students participated in weekly events. Its first appearance in Kenya was such a success Binace held its second edition at the University of Nairobi. The tour aided students in understanding the fundamentals of blockchain and cryptocurrency. In addition, they also elaborated on the concept of P2P trading. Aside from the blockchain and crypto, NFT was also a core subject within Binance’s Web3 education programs.
Binance has a history of trying to increase crypto awareness in Africa. In 2021, the organization hosted a Women In Crypto Dinner within the AFricna Web3 Centre to empower the women of Kenya. The need for female founders has steadily grown within Kenya and has a voice within crypto in Kenya. Aside from Web3 education programs, Binace has hosted several Web3 meets ups in Meru a Nakuru to further increase crypto awareness in Africa.
Another crucial element is that Kenya is among the few African countries that offer blockchain courses. The Blockchain Association of Kenya was established in 2017, to deal with the ever-growing need for blockchain developers. Mic Kimanu, launched this organization to increase Web3 awareness within the country.
In addition, it partners with several other institutions for educational boot camps, meetups and trading courses for those interested. Africa Training Institute is also another Kenyan-based organization that offers blockchain Certificate training. Their program offered technical skills and structural knowledge of blockchain programming.
They also taught several technical skills on Bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger and Mulrivhain blockchain platforms. It has hosted several blockchain developers, and their classes are in various online platforms expanding their reach throughout the country.’
By combing the efforts of individual crypto traders, the road paved by digital money, and the hosting of crypto events and Web3 education programs, Kenya has steadily become an African Web3 Centre. Currently, the government has recognized the true potential of crypto traders.
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However, they intend to start posting tax on the Web3 community. This might not be the best of approaches, but it shows that governments have seen the potential of crypto in a nation if regulated. There are still various plans for more crypto events and Web3 education programs from various organizations mainly since Kenya has shown that it has the potential to truly adopt the concept of Web3.