Kenyan Farmers Pivot to Cryptocurrency as Popularity of Community Currencies Grows

The growth and popularity of community inclusion cryptocurrencies in Kenya continues to soar with the country’s rural farmers being the latest group to embrace the financial technology. As one report reveals, some farmers in Kenya’s countryside are now accepting cryptocurrency as payment while others are using the same to buy important supplies.

Use of Sarafu Cryptocurrency Helps Farmers Save Money

According to a report from media outlet VOA, one of the reasons this alternative monetary system has become popular is because it allows users to preserve their fiat currency savings. For instance, the report quotes Emmanuel Kahindi, a 26-year-old farmer from Kenya’s Kilifi, explaining how using this novel currency system helps him. Kahindi said:

“Sarafu [the community inclusion cryptocurrency] helped me a lot especially because it makes me save my money, my Kenyan currency.” According to the report, Kahindi is using the sarafu to purchase items for the garden like seeds and fertilizer.

The sarafu crypto coins, according to an explanation in the VOA report, are like vouchers that can be exchanged for goods or services of other users of the currency. So far, anyone with a Kenyan mobile phone line can enroll to become a user. Upon enrolling, users are given 50 sarafu for free. After that, they earn coins by selling a product or service to another user.

Will Ruddick, the American economist who introduced this system for low-income urban customers, is quoted in the report asserting that this digital currency is intended to fill the fiat currency gap. He said:

I think that’s where there is the most chronic lack of national currency. So, I think what’s happening, we’re filling a gap. People say look, the national ledger system, the national currency it is not available for us. We can’t measure our trade in this thing.

Support for the Initiative Growing

As previously reported by Bitcoin.com News, this community inclusion cryptocurrency initiative has been applauded by Kenya’s UN resident coordinator Stephen Jackson. In his commendation, the UN coordinator praised the blockchain anchored e-voucher system for its role in helping “vulnerable households access basic needs.” The Kenyan Red Cross has similarly praised the initiative.

Meanwhile, in addition to receiving support from farmers and the UN, the sarafu cryptocurrency is also getting a thumbs up from some Kenyan academics. For instance, Bitange Ndemo, a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi, thinks this type of cryptocurrency can be useful in other African countries. Ndemo gives an example of cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo as an area that needs a community inclusion cryptocurrency. He explained:

“Nothing stops them from a cobalt coin based on the reserves they have in terms of cobalt. The country then can then raise sufficient resources to develop the country.”

What are your thoughts on this use of cryptocurrency by Kenyan farmers? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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