Financial Inclusion, Cryptocurrency and the Developing World

Regions of the world with fast-growing economic potential and young populations, such as India and Africa, will become leaders in crypto adoption

four assorted cryptocurrency coins
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Beyond rapidly changing how we create, store and transfer value, cryptocurrencies are accelerating financial inclusion in a way that traditional financial institutions have either been unwilling or unable to. Yet crypto’s possibilities go way beyond banking the unbanked. It allows developing nations and those without access to financial services to avoid the bank completely and transact and grow small businesses using just a mobile phone.

Why financial inclusion is so important

Even today, almost 2 billion people around the world have no access to financial services. That’s approximately one-fourth of the global population. Having nowhere to place savings and not being able to get a bank card, obtain credit or avail of basic services such as life insurance is a horribly crippling disadvantage. These people are effectively unable to take part in their local economies — at least, in meaningful ways.

Gaining access to financial services will allow financially excluded people to improve their lives, increase their earnings, raise their household income and even stash away some savings for troubled times such as the ones we’re living in currently. Entrepreneurs can gain access to credit to start a business and families can acquire land and livestock and ensure that the roofs over their heads are safe. Quality of life can be improved for all.

Further still, impoverished parents can begin to send their children to school, offer them improved living conditions and access healthcare services. Financial inclusion can even lead to the creation of jobs as small businesses expand and need to take on additional personnel. We’re talking about a massive section of the global population that could substantially motor the economy through financial inclusion.

Developing countries are home to a young, tech-savvy population

The vast majority of financially excluded individuals live in developing regions. Yet this also coincides with a young, largely tech-savvy population. In parts of Africa, for example, mobile phones are more common than access to electricity. They have long been used as a primary tool for daily life exchanges and, more recently, for cryptocurrency use.

Across Africa, some 200 million people are between the ages of 15 and 24. This makes them generally well-versed in technology and a naturally captive audience for cryptocurrency adoption. This is mirrored by the population in many developing countries including IndonesiaTurkey and India. A tech-savvy population with a high mobile phone penetration rate — and a pressing need for financial services: This creates the perfect conditions to accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrencies.

As many people can’t access the traditional banking system, being able to earn, save and transact in cryptocurrencies directly from a telephone is hugely beneficial.

Ripe for cryptocurrency adoption

India is currently one of the most promising markets for cryptocurrency adoption and financial inclusion right now. With the regulatory framework improving this year with the Supreme Court of India overturning the Reserve Bank of India’s ban on cryptocurrency, adoption in the world’s second-most populated country could really take off.

India’s national currency, the rupee, has steadily declined in value against the United States dollar over the last decade. And with the COVID-19 pandemic causing increased money printing in India just as in other parts of the world, the rupee is being devalued further. Declining confidence in the national fiat currency as well as the government could be a large catalyst for cryptocurrency adoption in India and in many parts of the world.

Along with Africa and Indonesia, India’s population is young and very familiar with technology. In fact, around 8% of India’s gross domestic product comes from its well-developed IT outsourcing industry. The country has the skills and technical talent to make crypto startups flourish here. And with the largest remittance market in the world, crypto is the perfect use case for unshackling people from the high fees and lengthy delays involved in sending money home.

Onboarding the next wave to crypto

Of course, the right conditions and the potential don’t make crypto adoption a done deal. There is still much work to be done. The scene is being set for more and more crypto startups, remittance companies, exchanges and applications to appear across the developing region. At OKEx, we see the giant potential for crypto adoption in these parts of the world, and we want to be at the forefront of it. This is why our partnership with Paxful, the leading peer-to-peer Bitcoin (BTC) marketplace, is all the more significant.

Paxful has an extensive payment method infrastructure that allows local people to select how they pay for their Bitcoin from more than 300 different ways. This could be gift cards, store points, cash on delivery — or indeed any local method deemed acceptable by the seller. This kind of flexibility allows it to onboard people into cryptocurrency more easily.

They can then send and receive Bitcoin for goods and services and, through OKEx, earn interest on their BTC savings through high-interest accounts as well as make their money work for them accessing advanced trading tools.

As regulation becomes more favorable and the people’s needs are still repeatedly ignored by traditional finance, a young population with high mobile penetration will help financial inclusion to finally become a reality. The next wave will soon be onboarded to crypto, and it’s the developing world that will be leading the charge.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cryptopayplus LTD

Survey Respondents Are Split 50/50 Between Bitcoin & Big Banks

round silver and gold coins
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The proportion of people who trust big banks has fallen drastically since 2017, while the support for Bitcoin has exploded — millennials lead the way.

The survey results are in — there is almost an equal split on the issue of trust: Bitcoin (BTC) or big banks. There has also been an incredible change in attitudes over the past three years on the issue.

Who trusts in Bitcoin?

The Tokenist surveyed 4,852 respondents in 17 countries about their attitudes towards Bitcoin. It also compared its findings with the responses from previous similar surveys. This allowed it to observe how these attitudes changed over time.

If you had to choose, which of the following is more trustworthy? Source: The Tokenist

The winds of change

Not only is there almost an equal split, but when it comes to the millennials, they also tend to put more trust into Bitcoin. What is even more interesting is how this has changed since 2017. Back then, only 18% picked Bitcoin versus 82%, who chose big banks. Even in the millennial group, the split was highly unfavorable — 27/73.

2017 Results Versus 2020 Results. Source: The Tokenist.

It should be noted that one would expect the respondents to The Tokenist survey to be skewed towards Bitcoin. However, the same was true for the baseline surveys.

It may be fair to speculate that this change in the zeitgeist will translate into growth within the crypto industry.

Ex-Fidelity Exec Joins Blockchain Company Bloq as Chief Operating Officer

A former executive at financial services giant Fidelity Investments has been appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) at blockchain infrastructure firm Bloq, according to a press release Oct. 23.

Bloq’s new COO, Hadley Stern, spent seventeen years at Fidelity, which administers over $7.2 trillionin client assets. His most recent role was at the helm of the crypto and blockchain incubator within the company’s innovation lab, Fidelity Labs – overseeing the launch last week of its new crypto-business, Fidelity Digital Assets.

Bloq’s co-founder and chairman Matthew Roszak characterized the new appointment as emblematic of the increasing entwinement of the world of “conventional” enterprises and the emerging cryptocurrency sector.

In a Medium post published today, entitled “The Tokenization of Things and Building the Unimaginable,” Stern gave his perspective on the history of the new technologies driving an “efficient, frictionless” economy:

“Without coming off as doctrinaire or fundamentalist, it’s fair to say that Satoshi Nakamoto delivered a true gift in the Bitcoin whitepaper, that is, a way to produce and account for a provably scarce, wholly digital asset. Satoshi was not-so-subtly concerned about vulnerabilities in the financial system […] Nearly a decade later, the Bitcoin project has proven stunningly resilient.”

Stern’s blog post further outlined three fundamental market areas to be undertaken at Bloq as part of the company’s aim to further the management and integration of digital assets.

As reported early last week, Fidelity this month officially unveiled its new company, Fidelity Digital Asset Services, which will offer custody and trade execution services for digital assets, targeting institutional investors.