Senegal to Launch Blockchain-based Digital Currency

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Senegal is aobut to introduce a national digital currency, based on Blockchain technology, according to a report from iAfrican.com. The new currency will be called eCFA and will be recognised legal tender alongside the CFA Franc, both a national and regional currency used by fourteen predominantly French colonies in West Africa. 

Senegal’s eCFA comes from a partnership by Banque Régionale de Marchés (BRM) and eCurrency Mint Limited, where BRM will issue the digital tender currency, the eCFA, in compliance with e-money regulations of the Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO), the Central Bank of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).

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The only other country in the world with a national digital currency is also African – Tunisia. As reported in Blockchain News – in late 2015, Tunisia became the first country in the world to offer its national currency to be transmitted through cryptocurrency based on Blockchain, using a platform built by Monetas.

More from the report:

This push towards mainstreaming digital currency, along with other experiments using Blockchain, further show that Africa is a fertile ground for the testing and deploying new FinTech solutions.

South Africa’s Reserve Bank, for example, shared a smart contract with a number of other financial institutions through the Ethereum Blockchain network, and ABSA, a subsidiary of Barclays Africa, joined the international R3 Blockchain Consortium.

Fintech in Africa tends to take a more practical route towards adoption, with solutions coming up to fill a gap, such as M-Pesa meeting the need for financial inclusion and remittance services in Kenya in 2007. Building on the continent’s fintech innovations, startups have long driven growth in the sector, and it will be interesting to see how a regulator-driven initiative like this will play out.

After Senegal, WAEMU will introduce the eCFA in Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Togo and Guinea-Bissau.

About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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