Kenyan Blockchain Advocate-Interview with Bitcoin News
In 2020, the adoption of blockchain technology and the use of cryptocurrencies by Africans has surged to unprecedented levels. Although many people attribute this to Covid-19, blockchain advocates believe that their work is part of the reason why many people are turning to digital currencies.
The importance of education
Starting from the first quarter of 2020, the adoption of blockchain-anchored digital currencies such as Bitcoin has accelerated in Africa and other regions, where the number of economically excluded adults is still high. In fact, it turns out that blockchain and cryptocurrencies are tailored to the “new normal” that has existed since the beginning of the pandemic.
Although blockchain and encryption advocates may see the increase in encryption use as a direct result of their efforts, some believe that this is an epidemic that forces many Africans to consider blockchain-related solutions. But as Kenyan blockchain advocate and educator Roselyne Wanjiru told Bitcoin.com News, the work she did is still necessary.
In a written response to a question sent to her via Whatsapp, Wanjiru also shared her experience as one of the few women involved in blockchain advocacy work. The following is Wanjilu’s answer.
Bitcoin.com News (BCN): Can you tell our readers what makes you want to participate in blockchain and encryption advocacy or education?
Roselyne Wanjiru (RW): I am attracted by the novelty and potential of blockchain technology as a solution in the array of cyber security tools. I initially sought a master’s degree in data science, but realized the gap in blockchain education, I chose to venture into the research, publicity, and awareness of the ecosystem.
BCN: How long have you been doing this work, can you say it helps?
RW: Since 2018; this is an incredible and challenging journey. With the improvement of services and user experience, the acceptance of the whole African continent is increasing, even if the general awareness has been recognized by more people.
BCN: You are one of the few women in Africa actively involved in educating fellow Africans about the potential of this technology. What do you think are some of the challenges or obstacles that cause this gender gap?
RW: Unfortunately, the gender gap is replaced by the participation and inclusion rates of women and girls in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math]Over time, the increase in social appreciation, motivation, and role models of existing women in STEM is changing this statement.
BCN: What do you think needs to be done to help increase the number of women participating in this education work?
RW: Increase in personal initiative, public-private partnerships; funding and apprenticeship programs to absorb the trained talents into companies entering the industry.
BCN: Before the pandemic, many people had predicted that Africa would adopt digital currencies on a large scale, but this never really happened. Blockchain and cryptocurrency blockades and other forms of movement restrictions have only gained some recognition. In your opinion, does this mean that educators did not do enough before the pandemic?
RW: Educators do their best to disseminate information; however, the financial pressures that have prompted many to consider alternatives have provided unprecedented impetus to the adoption of these tools. To say the least, this incentive is remote, and many people were satisfied with their income and financial situation before the pandemic broke out.
BCN: What do you think is the best use case for digital currency in Africa?
RW: Currently, remittances, alternative investments and speculation in these digital currencies. The increase in usage trends will provide governments with valuable insights into the feasibility of using central bank digital currencies.
BCN: We know that Bitcoin accounts for the largest portion of cryptocurrency transactions on the African continent. However, as Chainalysis data shows, the trading volume of stablecoins seems to be growing. What do you think is the reason for the increase in stablecoin trading volume?
RW: Two reasons: For investors who want to avoid the volatility of cryptocurrencies, stablecoins provide the necessary solutions; when the market shows signs of falling prices or bearish signals, stablecoins provide another way to keep their value Lost in the downlink cycle.
BCN: In recent years, some African countries have expressed that they are studying or exploring the possibility of issuing central bank digital currencies (CBDC). Despite this, many of these countries are still reluctant to recognize private digital currencies — or have taken measures to restrict the use of such currencies. Do you foresee the coexistence of CBDC and privately issued digital currency?
RW: They can coexist and will; as long as the government-led process launches CBDC on time (which may take several years), citizens will become accustomed to using private digital wallets for transactions. What remains to be considered is how the transition will perform in terms of service integration and ease of use in order to incentivize citizens to use CBDC.
BCN: What advice do you have for governments or central banks that try to prevent people from using privately issued digital currencies?
RW: Considering that these tools will be increasingly used by governments in the next decade, it is best for them to invite and invest in forums for education, capacity building, and cooperation with private sector participants (such as virtual asset service providers). They do a good job assessing the potential savings of payments, cash transfer programs, and the financial transparency benefits inherent in these technologies. It is better to ask and take risks early than to let history show what past opportunities can do.
What are your thoughts on this interview? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
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