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'Bitcoin a catalyst for cashless Ghana' says African internet pioneer

'Bitcoin a catalyst for cashless Ghana' says African internet pioneer

Bitcoin will help spur the growth of a cashless society in Ghana, the acclaimed "father of the internet in Africa" has said at last week's third Ghana e-Commerce Conference and Exhibition in Accra.

Nii Narku Quaynor is the Chairman of IT solutions firm, GhanaDotCom which launched the first bitcoin mining facility in Africa this February.

He started one of Ghana's first Internet Service Providers in 1993 and has served on the board of ICANN and the Internet Governance Forum Advisory Group at the United Nations.

In his keynote address Quaynor said that Ghana has a mature e-commerce economy and stressed the need for stakeholders to intensify their engagement and collaboration for the industry to thrive in the country, though with a caution about cybercrime and related cyber security issues as a significant threat to adoption.

In May, Ghana's Chapter of the Internet Society trained some of its members on cryptography which it considers a major issue in parts of Africa. As the first of its kind in Ghana and possibly in the West African region, the training was organised to create awareness about the tool that makes communication more secure on the Internet as the group tends to focus on ensuring the security of transactions on the Internet first before discussing Bitcoin adoption.

After the launch of the mining facility, Quaynor had maintained that as he had worked to pioneer internet development in Africa, he will promote Bitcoin development and the blockchain technology which has numerous other applications beyond cryptocurrencies.

At the sideline of the event, Quaynor told Citi Business News that digital money is better than mobile money and credit cards because it is natively designed for use in cyber environments, faster and under the control of its owner.

Over a hundred delegates were at the event which as the theme: 'Transforming Ghana's online Businesses through Technology, Innovation & Opportunity'.

According to its organiser, Ghana's e-commerce industry has been growing rapidly with the increased emergence of alternative payments such as mobile banking and online payment platforms and it is poised to boom.

Despite its over 70% unbanked population, mobile money transactions alone reached 679.17 million cedis by the end of June 2016 in Ghana, it says quoting the Bank of Ghana's Payment Systems Department. That shows an increase of over 20% from the end of 2015 which it says is poised to double by 2018.

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