Senegal, a francophone country in West Africa, has turned its attention to Bitcoin as the official currency, the CFA, continues to suffer.
Cointelegraph reports that a growing list of merchants and customers have joined the Lightning network and cryptocurrency education, and bitcoin adoption is rising in the country. Recently, Senegal hosted a Bitcoin conference tagged “Darker Bitcoin Days”, initiated by Bourou, to highlight the surging interest in knowing more about Bitcoin in Senegal.
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In the last few years, residents of Senegal have grown fond of transferring money via mobile phones rather than banks as the nation seeks to bank the unbanked. Cointelegraph discovered Wave, a mobile money provider in business since 2017.
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Wave has a similar operation mode to Bitcoin. The mobile money provider seeks to bank the unbanked and improve financial conditions for financially underserved populations. With Wave, users can scan a QR code or send money to a number; this is similar to sending money over Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. But there is a transaction fee between 1% and 3%.
Transactions take only a few minutes to go through. Although recognized as a helpful platform, its weakness is that it is expensive for microtransactions.
To test the efficiency of Bitcoin as an adequate alternative, the Cointelegraph reporter transfers bitcoin over the Lightning Network to a manager at Wave, who is interested and equally animated by the speed of the Lightning Network.
Scores of Senegalese showed interest in receiving, buying, and learning to keep bitcoin. Besides enjoying a fast, easy, and cost-friendly mode of transaction, the monetary chains of its colonial past could spur the faster adoption of Bitcoin in Senegal.
Senegal explores other alternatives for CFA
In Africa, almost 150 million people use the Franc of the Financial Community of Africa (CFA) for their daily transactions, from Senegal in the extreme west to Gabon in the centre of the continent.
The CFA franc is used in 14 countries. Its value corresponds with the Euro. Printed in France, its monetary policy is regulated by Western powers. As Fodé Diop, a Bitcoin Lightning developer from Senegal, details, “The IMF and the French government still control the currency.”
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In 1994, a devastating experience eroded the Senegalese society when the value of the local currency, the CFA, was slashed in half through the merged efforts of France, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. As a result, the fiat savings of Senegalese were decimated. This incident has produced a lack of doubt in the CFA among Senegalese.
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Gloire, the founder of Kiveclair, a Bitcoin Beach-inspired refugee project in the Congo, told Cointelegraph that the CFA “makes whole countries dependent” and “it is usually the poorest who suffer.”
“The most striking example is that of 1994, when France and a privileged few decided to devalue the CFA Franc. There is no guarantee that such a thing will not happen again, especially since the global economy is threatened.
This is why Senegal is exploring other viable alternatives to replace the CFA.
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