Binance is looking at Africa as the next frontier of growth, an executive at the world’s largest crypto exchange by daily trading volume has revealed. Benjamin Rameau, the Director of Binance Labs revealed the company’s reasons behind setting out to conquer Africa, with the relative underdevelopment in the continent and the great diversity being among the key ones. Through a blog post, Rameau stated that while decentralization has the capacity to unlock a lot of potential in the developed world, Africa is the continent that could experience a revolution as its financial services networks have a very low adoption rate.
The African Revolution
Rameau listed ten reasons that have led Binance to focus on Africa, the first of which is the contrarian spirit. Citing the unprecedented growth that Asia underwent in the 60’s and 70’s despite many people dismissing it, he expressed his belief that Africa is at a similar point and that it’s those that have a contrarian outlook that will take the most advantage of this.
Africa’s population of 1.2 Billion people is largely underbanked, with only 43 percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa having a bank account against the global average of 69 percent. The proportion is even lower in some areas such as South Sudan where it stands at 9 percent. This makes the continent a prime destination for decentralized applications which can provide access to financial services for hundreds of millions of Africans.
Rameau, who leads Binance’s startup incubator, also cited the poor governance in many African countries for the stagnating growth. Blockchain technology can circumvent the political elite and bring together economically aligned people, he explained stating:
Blockchain technology can allow large people to work together through aligned economic incentives where they can participate in their own governance codes. The parameters controlling a DAO can be decided by the token holders, for the token holders. These organizations will no longer be dependent on the whims of a politician.
Africa’s huge proportion of young people will also accelerate the pace of blockchain adoption, Rameau continued. Citing Ethiopia as an example, he stated that with a median age of 17.9 years, it’s a reflection of the majority of the other African states whose population is predominantly young and would thus quickly embrace blockchain technology.
Binance Labs is just as African as it is European, Rameau concluded. Being a decentralized organization, Binance Labs has “no headquarters, no office and no geographical boundaries,” he stated. He expressed the commitment of Binance Labs to investing in Africa, inviting any applicants from Africa whose projects were making the world a better place to submit their applications for consideration.
With its mission being “to solve the problems that matter most to the ecosystem and change the world for the better,” Binance Labs invests in and incubates blockchain projects. Led by ex-Google and Tencent luminary Ella Zhang, it has invested in a number of startups including privacy-focused payments network MobileCoin, decentralized crowdfunding platform Republic and decentralized cloud computing platform Oasis Labs. Binance Labs is also the administrator of Binance’s Ecosystem Fund, a one-billion-dollar fund which has partnered with 20 initial partners to invest in blockchain startups