Africa has always been ahead of the game when it comes to new technologies. Not a phrase that is usually applied to the continent, but there is one particular example of how the rest of the world learns from Africa.
Of course, Africa is not one place, its countries are all completely different in culture, attitude and entrepreneurship. But the one thing that its countries have in common is that they have all been exploited by colonial powers, be that French, German, Belgian, British, Russian, China, American or whoever needed its minerals and riches.
So Africa has used technology to address this appalling balance by piggybacking on the mistakes of so-called first mover countries.
The epitome of this opposition is the mobile money platform M-Pesa. Launched in 2007 by Vodafone and Safaricom in Kenya, this technology for ‘the unbanked’ has revolutionised poverty in the country and giving a ‘voice’ to those who would have otherwise been unable to be part of the financial system.
Similarly it is now Web3 and crypto where Africans are piggybacking on technology. The Global Crypto Adoption Index reports that Africa has registered huge growth in grassroots crypto adoption.
To that end, web platform Opera has launched a non-custodial stablecoin wallet integrated into its mobile web browser that will be made available to its user base in Africa.
Web browser Opera recently conducted a survey of more than 5,000 Opera Mini users with more than 90% expressing an interest in having a digital wallet seamlessly integrated into their browser.
Due to M-Pesa’s evolution, more than 98% of Kenyans already use some form of mobile money, followed by and 96% of Ghanaians, 66% in Nigeria and 43% in South Africa, who are also experiencing an exponential rise in digital payments.
The recent launch of MiniPay in Nigeria is well-grounded given the high rate of grassroots crypto adoption, openness to new technology and the country being a digital payments leader in Africa.
With the integration of MiniPay into Opera Mini – which has millions of users across Africa – users in Nigeria can experience fast, affordable, and transparent transactions enabled by stablecoins.
Soon to be rolled out in other countries across the continent, MiniPay has been designed to address specific barriers to accessible payment options and financial tools, such as high transaction fees, the cost of mobile data, and difficult-to-navigate systems.
MiniPay offers users affordable transactions, each costing less than 1 Naira (£.001). They can also enjoy flexible fund withdrawals through local payment methods, including airtime and bank transfers.
Funds in Minipay are stored in cUSD, a stable asset on the Mento Protocol that tracks the value of the US dollar (USD) allowing for a potential hedge against inflation and local currency devaluation.
At just 2MB, MiniPay is ultra-lightweight, ensuring that users who benefit from Opera’s complimentary data programs can use MiniPay without compromising their browsing experience.
Transactions can be completed in under five seconds using just a phone number. The onboarding process is facilitated by signing in through either Google or Opera accounts, eliminating the need for complex login processes – a common pain point for many would-be adopters of Web3 products.
Where M-Pesa led in 2007, Opera now seems to have taken mobile money to a new place; the very different world of 2023 where crypto and Web3 are expected to rule for some time to come.
Monty Munford advises the world’s fastest-growing companies in blockchain, AI, mobile and NFTs on growth and visibility. In the past decade his consultancy has helped more than 40 companies raise money/exit for a total of $1.4 billion.
Munford was previously a weekly tech columnist for Forbes in New York, the Telegraph in the UK and continues to write regularly for the BBC, The Economist and… City AM.
He is also a keynote speaker/emcee/moderator/interviewer and has spoken at more than 200 global events interviewing figures such as Tim Draper, the late John McAfee, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Wozniak (twice in Beirut and Vienna), Kim Kardashian (once in Armenia), Amitabh Bachchan, Ghostface Killah, ZZ Top, Guns N’ Roses and many others.