Ghana could issue digital currency in ‘near future’

The West African nation of Ghana could soon issue a digital currency.

Ernest Addison, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, announced the news at an annual banking conference on Tuesday, saying that the central bank is in discussion with “key stakeholders” to explore a digital currency pilot project “with the possibility of issuing an e-cedi in the near future.”

The effort is aimed at complementing the growth in electronic payment systems in Ghana, such as mobile money. Mobile money transaction volumes, for instance, increased to 1.4 billion last year as compared to 982 million in 2017, said Addison, adding:

“The digital age provides enormous potential for the financial sector to re-orient itself to satisfy the new consumer and business demands for financial services.”

Africa has seen increased cryptocurrency interest as well. Just last month, peer-to-peer bitcoin trading platform Paxful said it added 800,000 wallets in the past 12 months, driven by growth in African countries – Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. Paxful co-founder and COO, Artur Schaback, told The Block at the time that Africa is a “big” market for the platform as users in these countries are “restricted by traditional financing.”

The Block’s research analyst John Dantoni recently mapped out the blockchain ecosystem in Africa and found that there are 64 blockchain and cryptocurrency firms across 11 different sub-categories, including exchanges and wallets.