The people of Kenya are no strangers to Bitcoin (BTC), especially now that the coin seems to be breaking its all-time high on a weekly basis. In 2020, the Paxful Kenya community was at its most active, reaching new highs in trading volume throughout the year.

Alongside Nigeria and South Africa, Kenya led the charge in BTC usage and trades in Africa. But there’s one key factor that gives Kenya an edge in the competition: its advancements in mobile payment systems. The country is the motherland of mobile money, with services like M-Pesa running the show even before Satoshi Nakamoto birthed Bitcoin. 

Because of the leaps and bounds they’ve made in the space, Kenya has paved the way for those who seek financial inclusion, allowing 73% of Kenyans to be financially included, according to a study done by Finclusion.org. And, this study was done in 2017, three years before Bitcoin trade volumes spiked in the country. 

Reasons behind the trading surge in Kenya

To understand why trade volumes are rising, we first have to go over why Kenya is an ideal home for Bitcoin. 

First, let’s talk about the youth. According to the Kenya Constitution of 2010, the youth are those aged between 18 and 34 years old. They play an integral part in the boom of Bitcoin because these are the Kenyans who are willing, if not excited, to try out new technologies and trends. Every year, 800,000 of these people enter the labor market and 35% of them remain unemployed. This opens a window for BTC to fly in and expose them to the crypto space, which leads us to our next point. 

The workforce has shifted to freelancing. Because people need to receive payment overseas for work done online, many of them were exposed to the wonders of the cryptocurrency space. It was then that the freelancers put crypto adoption on the map. 

Next, let’s talk about Internet penetration, or the percentage of a total population that uses the Internet. Among all its neighbors in Africa, Kenya has the highest Internet penetration at 87%. Additionally, Kenya is one of the more promising African countries when it comes to Internet speed. These both go a long way in enabling Kenyans to try new technologies. What kind of new technologies, you ask? Well, technologies like Bitcoin and trading platforms like Paxful. 

Paxful is the region’s market leader, making it the best place to buy Bitcoin in Kenya. There’s a high number of buyers and sellers in the area, making it incredibly easy for anyone to find an offer that’ll tailor to their needs. 

Together, all these factors cultivate a breeding ground for people who attain the highest form of crypto inspiration. As a result, Kenya continues to flourish and trade volumes rise. 

How to get started with Bitcoin

Intrigued? Great! Before you get started, here are a couple of things you’ll need: 

First, you’ll need a Bitcoin wallet. This is where you’ll digitally store your BTC. We admit that there are many kinds of wallets out there and it can be a little easy to get intimidated. But don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you. 

Hot wallets are wallets that are always connected to the Internet, allowing for quicker user access. These are the most popular types of hot wallets: 

  • Web wallets – This is the type of wallet that platforms like Paxful offer upon creating an account. They’re accessible through web browsers and are ideal for a trader that’s just starting out. 
  • Mobile wallets – This wallet is a mobile application that can be installed on your smartphone. This is ideal for those who like to trade on the go, pay bills using BTC, make peer-to-peer payments, or transfer money. 

Although some can connect to the Internet, cold wallets remain mostly offline, enabling higher security systems compared to hot wallets. Here are some of the more popular cold wallet options: 

  • Hardware wallets – This type of wallet is a portable device that looks like a USB flash drive, often with a screen and buttons to navigate the user interface. They’re often considered the most secure way to store your crypto. However, they’re not free-of-charge, making them more ideal for more seasoned traders. 
  • Desktop wallets – Desktop wallets are installable applications for your desktop or laptop. They give you full access to your crypto and private keys, making them ideal for people who spend a lot of time on their computers. 
  • Paper wallets – Paper wallets are literal pieces of paper that hold your private key and public address. Although they’re a viable way to store your BTC, what brings them down is being, well… a piece of paper. There’s a lot that could go wrong—it could get wet, burned, lost, crumpled, or thrown out. So if you’re thinking about using a paper wallet, make sure you keep it safe. 

Once you find the wallet for you, you’ll probably have to go through some sort of verification to make your account more secure and confirm ownership of the wallet. In Kenya, you’ll need a recent ID to do this. 

After finding yourself a wallet that fits your trading style, it’s time to look for a platform to trade on. There are two main types of trading platforms to look out for: traditional exchanges or peer-to-peer marketplaces

Traditional exchanges have been around longer, making them some of the most reliable exchanges on the planet. However, peer-to-peer marketplaces like Paxful have revolutionized the way people can trade with over 350 payment methods at their disposal. The way you like to trade will be the deciding factor when choosing between the two, so ensure that you do your research and test the waters before settling on one. 

Once you get a BTC wallet and a platform to trade on, you’re ready to begin! Good luck! 

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Kenya’s growing love affair with Bitcoin

Every day, the Kenyan Paxful community grows stronger and stronger. The Paxful Kenyan Community on Telegram alone already has over 8,000 members, allowing traders to interact freely with one another or directly reach out to the platform. Trade volumes in 2020 skyrocketed by over 480% from the previous year, and if it continues to increase, people from all over the world may begin to see the benefits that Bitcoin can bring. 

Our partnership with award-winning afro-pop band Sauti Sol is a celebration of what the local community has built in the past year. We hope that 2021 will further strengthen that community even more. 

Hopefully, one day, the world will realize the benefits of Bitcoin and normalize its use, and when that day comes, Kenyans will be able to hold their heads up high and say: “We were here first.”