What Does the Future Hold for Cryptocurrencies in Ghana?

Accra, March 8, GNA – Like several other African countries, Ghana has seen a surge of interest in cryptocurrencies. It hasn’t gone as far as the Central African Republic and adopted crypto as legal tender, however, there isn’t an explicit ban either.

Will the recent drop in prices for major crypto assets following the collapse of FTX, the world’s third-largest crypto exchange, change things? We could expect to see Ghanaians exploring their options and checking the Bitrise token price. Cryptos, like BRISE, that run on their own network with low transaction fees could attract more attention.

These developments raise questions about the bigger picture for cryptocurrencies in Ghana. We look at the current trends and what the future might hold. 

Cryptocurrencies in Ghana

Blockchain data platform Chainalysis indicates that North Africa was part of one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency markets in 2022. However, at the same time, the volume of crypto transactions in sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only 2% of global activity. We can conclude that growth is occurring, but that in Africa, and Ghana specifically, the crypto market remains fairly small.

According to Finder.com recent survey, in Ghana 20% of respondents own cryptocurrency. The numbers indicate a significant interest in cryptocurrencies and investments. Ghana sits above the global average for ownership, which is 15%. 

In Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya, Bitcoin is the most commonly adopted crypto. However, there’s also interest in cryptos outside of BTC, ETH, DOGE and ADA. It’s clear that Africans and particularly Ghanaians are exploring their options. More data is required to interpret the trends and people’s motivations, though.

Part of the System

Small markets with fast growth are an indication of the challenges that African governments and financial institutions face. The landscape is a fast-changing one, and it’s likely that further growth and innovations are on the way. It means that regulations shouldn’t stifle innovation but that they should try to predict and protect against the risks.

There are calls for better regulations in sub-Saharan Africa. While only a few countries have no policies in place, most have some cryptocurrency restrictions in place. Ghana is one of the latter, with no outright ban, but officials are working to address and clarify the status of cryptos. 

The Bank of Ghana has issued notices on digital and virtual currencies, where it stresses that cryptocurrencies aren’t recognised as legal tender nor are they regulated under any laws in Ghana. The general message is that cryptos come with risks and the people who trade in them are responsible for considering that.  

What Now?

It appears that the government and the Bank of Ghana are looking to move with the times. In 2020, a FinTech and Innovation Office was established. One of its remits will be oversight of emerging forms of payment. Plus, it will develop policies on FinTech and innovation in Ghana.

While it’s unclear how the regulation of existing cryptos will look. There are developments in other areas. A project is underway to experiment with CBDC (central bank digital currency). A design paper for the digital Cedi or eCedi looked at how blockchain technology could enhance the digitisation of the Ghanaian economy. It explicitly identified the eCedi as a way of addressing the risks of unregulated private digital currencies.

Glimpses of a Way Forward

There are positive signs that the Bank of Ghana is innovating and moving forward. It means the country shouldn’t be left behind as digital currencies revolutionise the way we develop. On the other hand, the current growth and rapidly changing picture demonstrate that more than one solution will be required to ensure a stable financial future.