Crypto innovations are happening around the world, from Latin America to Africa to Asia.
Investing, payments, art, identity — the variety of applications is wide.
This article is part of “Master Your Crypto,” a series from Insider helping investors improve their skills in and knowledge of cryptocurrency.
The crypto market might in a historic downturn, but innovation around it is happening across the globe.
Since June, Insider has been surveying Web3 applications across time zones for a series we call “Master Your Crypto.”
Here are some of the highlights.
While crypto is most commonly associated with investing, Insider’s reporter Lisa Kailai Han has noted Africa’s many concrete day-to-day use cases across the continent. Ghana’s Mazzuma offers a suite of payment and remittance options, with blockchain being leveraged to cut costs. In Zimbabwe, FlexID is helping with identity officiation, having verified more than 1 million bank credentials in the country over the past three years, all built on WhatsApp.
Raised in Cameroon, Nelly Chatue-Diop is the CEO and a cofounder of the investing platform Ejara. Chatue-Diop told Insider’s Morgan Chittum that she wanted to level the playing field for crypto access to make the investment class something that consumers beyond the very wealthy could dip into. Doing so would allow users to hedge against the ups and downs of state currencies as well.
Crypto “streamlines the whole flow” of the payments, Luno Expeditions CEO Jocelyn Cheng told April Joyner.
“If you’re looking for instant settlement or very quick settlement, it avoids the need for the provider to have enormous cash reserves in destination countries,” the venture capitalist said.
Singapore loves crypto. The advertising firm BBH Singapore told Parisa Hashempour about its survey of 1,000 investors in the city state in May and June. It found an astounding amount of loyalty despite the downturn, with nearly two-thirds of investors saying they’d continue to invest. Sixty-nine percent agreed that cryptocurrency was the future of money, the firm said.
Operating out of Hong Kong, the crypto lender Finblox serves the range of Southeast Asia. CEO Peter Hoang graduated from Harvard Business School and founded both a gaming company and a social-networking firm before launching Finblox, which allows users to invest in or lend against 23 coins. He was careful to note to our reporter Katie Canales that crypto was not a shortcut to wealth.
“The golden rules of investing — the higher the risk, the higher the return and time in the market is more important than timing the market — hold for crypto, too, and people should not misconstrue this asset class as a get-rich-quick scheme,” he said.
While El Salvador’s ventures into Web3 haven’t panned out — Rolling Stone recently asked if it’d be the first country bankrupted by crypto — there’s a lot of interest in the space across the region. Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina are among the 20 nations with the the greatest crypto adoption, according to a 2021 report from the blockchain-data firm Chainalysis.
The major player is Bitso, a Mexico City unicorn, which was founded to serve the unbanked in the region and create easier access to financial instruments like money transfers, reports Katie Canales. Investment in crypto can also help users hedge against inflation, like the 70% rate that’s ensnared Argentina.
In under two years, digital art has exploded. One of the main curators in the space is Kevin Rose, known in earlier iterations of the tech universe as the founder of Digg. More recently, he premiered the pixel-art collection of owls, Moonbirds, the cheapest of which cost over $20,000. His “Proof” podcast is aiming to be the “Wine Spectator” of digital art.
How does he make his decisions on what to collect?
Start with how it makes you feel.
“I want it to be something that even in the worst bear market, I’m not going to sell it because I love it,” Rose said.
This article is intended to provide generalized information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always consult with your own financial, legal, tax, investment or other professional for advice on matters that affect you and/or your business.
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