For many organisations across the global business landscape, the last few weeks of the year are typically laden with appraisals and evaluations aimed at examining the overall performance and highlights of last year. This is precisely our reality at Binance, and impressively, we can assert that our organisation, the world’s leading crypto and blockchain infrastructure provider, with an ecosystem featuring an unmatched portfolio of crypto products, has continued to experience immense growth across Africa, making it one of the fastest-growing regions for the company within the year.
How have we achieved this feat, and what are the key highlights from our year in review?
Ranging from our commitment to building user trust and transparency to our diverse product offerings, as well as our efforts in promoting financial inclusion, we have made significant progress over the past year, and I am excited to share some of them with you.
Increased Crypto Adoption Across Africa
As a leader in the blockchain industry, Binance has been key to innovating new products and services that enable financial accessibility and inclusivity for Africans. Notably, the company recorded a significant increase in Binance Pay users across the continent, highlighting its strong use case and continued uptake. Binance Gift Card also became available in Ghana, making it the first of its kind on the continent.
In 2022, we also expanded product offerings across multiple regions in the African continent. For instance, in August, Binance enabled instant deposits and withdrawals for the South African Rand (ZAR). This launch enabled South African users to make fast payments, secure deposits via Instant EFT, providing a new and competitive fiat gateway for the region.
We also introduced a fiat gateway for the Nigerian Naira through Cashlink in October 2022. As a result, Nigerian users are now able to withdraw & deposit NGN directly to and from their wallets, enabling greater financial accessibility for African users.
To complement increased adoption across the region, the blockchain giant also strengthened its presence in the Eastern, Southern, and Francophone African markets with new hires including regional leads – myself, Nadeem Anjarwalla (East Africa Regional Director) and Hannes Wessels (South Africa Regional Director) to head business operations in their respective regions.
Overall, in 2022, our Africa team more than doubled in size, highlighting the company’s focus on the region, the holistic crypto-forward mindset of the continent, and a strong appetite across African nations for a transformational system that drives innovation and financial inclusion.
Education Remains Our Core Mission
Education has been at the heart of Binance’s mission across Africa and we have invested greatly in improving financial literacy within the continent over the years. Remarkably, as of December 2022, the Binance Masterclass has provided free crypto education to hundreds of thousands of Africans across the region – setting the benchmark for Binance and the industry globally. The company has also hosted over 300 offline and online education events to drive its mission.
In line with ongoing efforts for equality of access, Binance Africa launched several initiatives targeting the education of women such as the first-of-its-kind Blockchain for Women Bootcamp. This initiative was aimed at educating African women on the intricacies of cryptocurrencies, and the numerous opportunities that abound.
From the 8-week Bootcamp, 300 women graduated, equipped with the blockchain education, tools, and skills needed to thrive and bring value to the space as part of Binance’s continued efforts to make crypto learning inclusive for all through both online and offline platforms.
Binance also launched a first-of-its-kind crypto hub in Cameroon and Africa, creating a smoother, safer, and more hands-on experience for Binancians and crypto beginners at large. The hub also houses regular skills training sessions, enabling many to learn new skills to remain employable globally.
It gets better! Later in the year, the Binance Charity x Utiva Scholarship Initiative was also launched, and going forward, we are set to educate 50,000 young people across Africa in technology and provide scholarships for another 1,000 in an intensive 1-year intensive training program.
The collaboration aims to build a path for economic prosperity for the continent through training, virtual education workshops, mentoring sessions, and access to vast job opportunities in the technology and Web3 space.
Championing Transparency, Trust, and Regulatory Compliance
Over the course of the year, Binance continued to show its commitment to compliance, security, and support of innovation as essential pieces to establishing trust in the Crypto industry, and by extension, leading to long-term growth in Africa and beyond.
In this regard, last year, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the founder and CEO of Binance, visited Ivory Coast and Senegal as part of his tour to connect with Binancians across the world and collaborate with policymakers. CZ’s stay in the region involved meetings with Alassane Dramane Ouattara, President of Ivory Coast and Macky Sall, President of Senegal, amongst others. These meetings were instrumental in promoting understanding of the space, discussing regulatory frameworks, and establishing channels for international cooperation.
Additionally, in order to share knowledge on the best practices in tackling cybercrime, Binance recently participated in the 9th Africa Working Group Meeting on Cybercrime for Heads of Units in Rwanda with plans to lead on a number of security workshops across Africa for 2023.
On the global front, Binance’s launched its Global Advisory Board (GAB), comprising of distinguished experts in public policy, government, finance, economics, and corporate governance. Nigeria’s Ibukun Awosika and South Africa’s Leslie Maasdorp currently represent the African continent on the board, providing much more localised contributions on the toughest and most sensitive regulatory and compliance issues facing crypto, blockchain, and Web3 in the region.
Read also: “Know-Your-Customer” key to driving blockchain adoption – Experts
The company also topped up its Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU) to $1B, an emergency insurance fund which was set up to protect Binance users in extreme situations. Alongside this, the Industry Recovery Fund was also set up to aid in rebuilding the industry and providing further protection for users.
We also released our Proof of Reserves (PoR) System, featuring an update using the Merkle Tree data structure for users to verify holdings. The new PoR site was designed to show that Binance, as a custodian holds its clients’ funds in full, with reserves. As a result, users can check the site and see our Proof of Reserves, reflecting Binance’s reserve ratio alongside customer liabilities.
Whew! We could go on and on, but overall, we are confident that this has been a highly remarkable year of innovation, expansion, and development for us at Binance. We look forward to the coming year, as we renew our commitments to ensuring financial accessibility while promoting safety, compliance and collaboration within Africa and beyond.
From all of us at Binance: Welcome to 2023!
Anjarwalla is East Africa Regional Director at Binance