- The first ever recorded crypto winter was experienced in 2018 after crypto made it to the mainstream
- When a crypto winter comes knocking, the prices of crypto coins significantly reduce, giving Africa’s crypto ecosystem a window of opportunity to increase its crypto numbers
- Crypto volatility has been a significant obstacle that has deterred many African crypto miners
Crypto volatility is the main enemy of crypto adoption in Africa and globally. The constant flux in Bitcoin and altcoin value has deterred many from venturing into cryptocurrency. There is a term that best describes a consistent dip in crypto value; crypto winter.
The popular phrase is coined from the famous line ‘Winter is Coming[Game of Thrones, 2011]. It generally describes a poorly performing crypto market and is known for its prolonged duration. It signifies the worst moments of crypto volatility, and many have speculated that new crypto winter is brewing.
What does this mean for Africa’s crypto ecosystem? Does the average African crypto trader have to fear or worry about it? Or will the new crypto winter end sooner than the last?
History of Crypto Winter
The first-ever iteration of crypto winter was experienced by Bitcoin’s initial launch back in 2011. When it finally hit the dollar mark at $1.06, a crypto winter reared its head and experienced a 40% drop in value to $0.67.
Many even speculated that the crypto market had ended before it even started (If only they knew). Later, Bitcoin got its first-ever high at $30 per coin, but mere months later, crypto volatility took a turn and almost 80% in loss was experienced, reducing its value to $2.14. Notice the pattern yet?
Bitcoin relatively marked the following years with a steady loss of a constant increment, but in 2013, it received its first-ever major high as it reached $1200. Like clockwork, a crypto winter settled in, and by the time 2015 rolled in, it hit a $180 value.
The inconsistency brought by crypto volatility was a major issue back then, and many were sceptical about the crypto market. Africa’s crypto ecosystem was still a minute and only had a few players in the crypto game.
By then, African crypto traders would have never anticipated what would happen next. A massive crypto winter hit the crypto market, reducing Bitcoin’s value by 65%. Every other altcoin soon followed suit, and the first official crypto winter made its mark as 40% of the total investors in crypto began pulling out. This caused a ripple effect in the crypto market. The more investors sold their stakes, the more the prices went under.
By the time the crypto market concluded the year, it had suffered an 80% loss in value. For the next two years, as Africa’s crypto ecosystem was slowly increasing, the rest of the crypto market was trying to stay afloat. It lasted till 2020 when Bitcoin began to improve significantly and reached a value of $7200. By 2021 came, it was steadily increasing but still had various after-effects from the previous crypto winter. In November last year, Bitcoin had pumped to its all time high of US$69,000.
Effects of a crypto winter on Africa’s crypto ecosystem
Crypto volatility has been a significant obstacle that has deterred many African crypto miners. Since its peak in 2021, cryptocurrency has lost $2 trillion in value, and the inflation does not seem to stop. Although the crypto market is experiencing some stability, many still speculate about an upcoming crypto winter. The constant fear of crypto volatility has plagued many, but there have been some signs of hope.
Cringing to the recent Chainalysis report, Africa holds the record of having the fastest crypto adoption rate, and the numbers seem only to grow.
Countries like Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa are among the few African countries that have the highest P2P transaction rate that rivals first-world countries. Hence, many have asked if the upcoming crypto winter will shatter all the progress African crypto traders have made over the years. The answer to this question is not as black or white as many think; instead, it runs on a shade of grey. Hear me out.
Crypto winter isn’t as bad as people think, at least in Africa. There is a bitter fact that we must all face as a continent; our fiat currency as it is cannot compete with the US dollar. It is harder for African crypto traders to acquire more crypto coins with their fiat money.
Some nations need at least 1000 of the fiat currency to enter the crypto market. We must face a reality check, so when a crypto winter comes knocking at the door, the prices of crypto coins significantly reduce. This gives Africa’s crypto ecosystem a window of opportunity to increase its numbers.
Most African individuals don’t partake in the crypto market simply because its ‘too expensive for their fiat currency to accommodate. This has significantly slowed the progress of African crypto traders in constant turmoil over prices. With the lowered price brought by a crypto winter, more newbies would have a chance to enter the crypto market.
The bad in the good
It is a fact crypto winter comes with fear, uncertainty and doubt. Some of the core ingredients have significantly barred Africa’s ecosystem. Major crypto exchange platforms have taken immense patience and effort to demystify this rigid thinking that all crypto is a scam.
Granted, several crypto scammers have plagued naive African crypto traders, eventually working against all the progress made. Some have also used crypto volatility to refer to cryptocurrency as a scam. Hence the crypto winter is sure to re-establish that negative mentality.
It will also slow down innovations in Africa. Multiple projects thrive in Africa’s crypto ecosystem, many of which strive to increase crypto awareness. A crypto winter will work against this project, slowing down their progress to accommodate the lows and dips that would occur.
With its current rate, Africa is sure to become a powerhouse in crypto in just a few years, and with a sudden drop in crypto volatility, it won’t permanently deter its rate. Still, the low coin value will significantly slow it down and affects African crypto traders who cannot access traditional financial services.
Have you seen where the grey shade comes from? The upcoming crypto winter will allow many new African crypto traders to hop in and start their experience. It will, however, cause the overall growth of Africa’s crypto market.
This might prove cumbersome, and many will jump on the idea to call it a scam, but there are still plenty more who will stick out. This new winter will determine the difference between short- and long-term African crypto traders. We should expect the latter to survive this new crypto winter.