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What Bear Market? Crypto Keeps Growing in Africa, Peru, El Salvador

The bear market has undoubtedly affected bitcoin’s price, but it’s certainly not the first time it has experienced draw downs of 70-90%. Some bear markets are for going down the bitcoin rabbit hole and learning about the hardest money we’ve ever seen. This bear market is for building conviction and sparking adoption through micro bitcoin economies.

With inflation surging around the world, people are seeking out alternatives to store their money in something that cannot be further debased. This inflationary environment has primed people for adopting bitcoin and they are now looking to be paid in it for their work.

As bitcoin is global money, micro-economies have been popping up around the world encouraging free trade that is free of censorship. Thes economies are showing that anyone can participate in earning, buying, and selling bitcoin without permission.

San Salvador

Africa Experiences a 1,200% Increase in Adoption

Many western and developed countries don’t immediately grasp the utility of bitcoin as they have never experienced the hardship of currency debasement at such a rapid pace or complete censorship of money. Emerging markets in countries such as Vietnam, Nigeria, Peru, and El Salvador are using bitcoin as a way to save their wealth from intense currency debasement and to open themselves up to a global market that they have historically been excluded from.

Bitcoin adoption is occurring through decentralised, peer-to-peer exchanges as many people are restricted by banks in using centralised exchanges. Peer-to-peer exchanges, such as Local Bitcoins, allow people to buy and sell bitcoin directly with each other without 3rd party intervention or censorship of transactions.

The accelerated adoption in Africa started with citizens using peer-to-peer exchanges to purchase bitcoin in order to send money to family, friends, and business partners across borders. They have saved over $48 billion a year in fees from using bitcoin and curtailing government restrictions and regulations on remittances. Entrepreneurs are sending bitcoin directly to their business and trading partners instead of converting their fiat currencies multiple times over and losing out on exchange rates and remittances.

Marginalized Communities Adopting Hard Money

Educational initiatives and non-profit programs have helped accelerate bitcoin adoption in marginalised communities around the world by growing circular economies. People can earn bitcoin for their work and spend it on other goods within their local economies.

In Peru, a non-profit project called MOTIV is creating bitcoin community hubs and circular economies to empower people to start small businesses and become financially free by selling their products for bitcoin. MOTIV helped set up a local grocery store where residents can purchase goods in bitcoin. They also helped a group of women in the Andes start making their ancestral art again to sell for bitcoin. These women stopped making their ancestral art for so long due to financial hardships and now they set up pop up shops in nearby cities. They do this while teaching others about the power of this hard money.

El Salvador has achieved international notoriety for adopting bitcoin as legal tender, but bitcoin adoption did not stem from this top down decision from the government. The town of El Zonte coined the name ‘Bitcoin Beach’ in 2019 when it established a grassroots circular economy with merchants and residents transacting mostly in bitcoin. There are now over 120 businesses operating in the area and encouraging people who can’t access banking services to participate in an open and inclusive bitcoin economy. Many developing countries around the world have been looking at El Salvador’s bitcoin adoption to figure out how they can integrate bitcoin and the lightning network in their own countries.

Bitcoin Adoption Through Mobile Gaming

While bitcoin adoption is spreading geographically through local economies, it is also happening online through mobile games. The play-to-earn mobile gaming industry is accelerating bitcoin adoption as more and more people around the world are gaining access to mobile phones and the internet.

THNDR games is a great example of a bitcoin ecosystem where players can earn daily bitcoin rewards for their achievements while playing mobile games on the app. These rewards can be withdrawn to a bitcoin lightning wallet where people can spend their rewards at locations that accept bitcoin. Mobile gaming is helping move bitcoin into the hands of those who don’t currently hold any and offering real world rewards in the form of hard money.

The Lightning Network and Bitcoin Adoption

One major thing all micro bitcoin economies around the world have in common is the integration of the lightning network in sparking adoption. The bitcoin layer-2 solution offers users seriously cheap transaction fees at lightning speed. All that’s required to send and receive bitcoin on the lightning network is a mobile phone.

Lightning creates a positive feedback loop that helps further accelerate bitcoin adoption. Learning about and using bitcoin leads people to use lightning. As more people start to use lightning for quick and cheap transactions, developers are incentivized to build more user-friendly and functional products making it easier for people to access the lightning network. This attracts more users and the cycle continues as people choose bitcoin as their preferred currency out of convenience.

Final Thoughts: Adoption is Key to Bitcoin Success

Micro bitcoin economies flourish from being built from the bottom up, with the people, in a grassroots way. This is a great reason to be bullish on bitcoin.

Despite the short-term low price in the bear market, the bitcoin network continues to grow in adoption around the world as people choose freedom and self-sovereignty by opting out of the exclusionary global financial system. Number go up in price can be fun, but number go up in adoption is how bitcoin wins.

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Kate Parkman

About the Author

Kate Parkman

Kate Parkman is a Bitcoin and crypto investor and educator and co-founder of the online crypto resource She hosts meetups and events around Canada with a mission to educate the next wave of Bitcoiners through sharing her deep hope for a fairer financial future. She previously studied public policy at Hamilton College in New York, and has a passion for ecommerce and travel.

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