Adopting Cryptocurrencies Can Save Batswana From Government's Incompetence

As investment tools, the jury is still out on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, with detractors like Botswana's central bank, the Bank of Botswana, shutting down any considerations for investing in them. The argument against cryptos has always been the same—that they are nothing but extremely volatile assets whose increase in value is backed by nothing but speculation and hence are a bubble waiting to happen. A case in point for this stance might be DogeCoin, a cryptocurrency based on a meme and hence a literal joke which at some point over the weekend grew by over 400% in value and had a market cap of over $40 billion.

However, as a medium for exchange, cryptocurrencies have over the last year or so been gaining mainstream acceptance and legitimacy. Many big organizations and companies like Tesla, PayPal, Microsoft, Visa, Starbucks, etc now accept Bitcoin and other cryptos as a means of payment. To further cement cryptos' mainstream credibility, this weekend, Coinbase, which is the biggest crypto exchange platform in the world, went public, paving the way for any and everyone to be able to exchange cryptos on the platform.

All these events show the speed at which cryptos are being adopted across the world but in Botswana, there seems to be no inclination towards using them as a means of exchange. With the central bank making it clear of its disdain for them, it is clear the government won't be transacting with them anytime soon so it is on the private sector to jump on this wagon so as to not have to play catchup in a few years and also liberate themselves from the bindings of government and the central bank's often questionable fiscal and monetary policies.

For the private sector, allowing transactions in cryptos hold several advantages for both businesses and their customers. With the government introducing levies and taxes as it sees fit, cryptos can act as a shield from this government theft by allowing anonymous and taxless transactions which would perhaps make government pull its socks and find new ways of raising revenues instead of stealing from businesses and citizens via taxes.

Transacting in crypto also protects businesses and customers from exorbitant banking fees as a result of blockchain technology's peer-to-peer nature. Blockchain is the underlying technology behind most cryptocurrencies. As a result, businesses can be able to make international transactions much easily and cheaply which will significantly boost their ability to scale their services to other parts of the world.

With all these advantages, among many others, it is clear that cryptocurrencies can eventually be a tool for the private sector and Batswana and general to shield themselves from the financial and economic repercussions of their government's often illogical decisions. However, it is also important realistic to admit that despite this huge potential of cryptos, their adoption in the country still has a very long way to go.

Several factors stand in this adoption by the general population. Firstly, it is the lack of knowledge. Most people in the country do not know anything about cryptocurrencies and if they do, they mostly associate them with fraud schemes. Secondly, it is the lack of access to internet services, especially in rural areas. Internet is the core behind any crypto transaction and without access to it, it would simply be impossible to make any transactions. 

It now becomes a Catch-22 situation because a country-wide adoption of cryptocurrencies to minimize government inclusion needs the same government to step-in in order to increase internet penetration across the country as well as facilitating an enabling regulatory framework. Keeping crypto adoption in only urban areas where there is sufficient internet would be a useless exercise because if we are to move forward as a country and free ourselves from the shackles of government, we need to all move together without leaving anyone behind.

All is not lost though. If our people can be educated about the power that cryptocurrencies hold, they will perhaps be sterner in pushing their representatives and government to provide internet infrastructure as well as an enabling regulatory framework much quicker. It is not an impossible task and if people actually understand that cryptocurrencies can be their liberation from bad governance, their push will become much stronger and those at the helm will have no choice but to listen to the people.

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