While the corona pandemic is pushing the Egyptian economy into recession, more and more Egyptians are realizing the benefits of (mindful of) Bitcoin.
Rising unemployment is one reason people are looking for alternative sources of income, Al-Monitor writes.
According to the news medium, many Egyptians (especially young people) are interested in cryptocurrencies. Wael al-Nahhas, an economist and financial advisor to various investment institutions in Egypt, says the following about it:
“Many young Egyptians started investing small amounts of money, around the rise in Ethereum Code app price from March. They also started minning satoshi. For example, on a daily basis, they made a profit of 4% to 5%”.
Unemployment in the North African country rose from 7.7% in the first quarter of 2020 to 9.6% in the second quarter. This means that more than half a million Egyptians lost their jobs, according to the latest figures from the Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.
Muhammad Abd el-Baseer, a miner and member of the Bitcoin Egypt Community, said several factors caused people to get involved with Bitcoin.
He explains that people have to work from home, work fewer hours and suffer from curfew. It gives a lot of extra time, which puts some of the Egyptians into Bitcoin. The news site describes how contractors who ran out of work took advantage of Bitcoin’s rise by (coincidentally) boarding at exactly the right time.
El-Baseer estimates that more than 16,000 Egyptians have joined the Bitcoin Egypt Community. In practice, that number is higher because many of these people are teaching their friends and family how to invest in Bitcoin.
Another reason for the growth, according to economist Ahmed Shuair, is the fact that brokers have gained more legitimacy. They can now guarantee their customers’ balance because they are connected to larger networks such as VISA and MasterCard. In the past, the local infrastructure sometimes caused problems. This integration also makes ATMs more attractive to use, according to Shuair.
On the one hand, this is great news, of course. On the other hand, there is also concern, because this group can be an easy target for fraud, due to the lack of appropriate legislation. According to Al-Monitor, a law is on the way. This should clarify what is and what isn’t legal about cryptocurrency.