The high appreciation of bitcoin, rising by 15 times in value over the last year, has sparked interest in cryptocurrencies. A cryptocurrency is a digital, decentralized currency and worldwide payment system with transactions that are verified by solving secret codes by computers.
And while most people in Africa are struggling to understand the fundamentals of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, a few people are catching on quick. Like Elisha Owusu Akyaw, a 16-year-old student who is already cashing in.
Currently, Elisha is running a company, called Token Media, a cryptocurrency marketing firm he set up in 2017 to help blockchain projects reach their target audience. His firm helps companies market their tokens and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). An initial coin offering (ICO) is a means of crowdfunding centered around cryptocurrency which can be a source of capital for startup companies.
In an ICO, some quantity of the crowdfunded cryptocurrency is preallocated to investors in the form of “tokens”, in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. These tokens become functional units of currency if or when the ICO’s funding goal is met and the project launches. But if the project doesn’t launch, all the investors who bought tokens now effectively have useless investments.
Although his business is relatively small, Elisha has worked with local financial firms to develop their projects, and Token Media, according to Bitcoinafrica.io, has helped raise over $40 million in token sales through its marketing services.
Elisha got into technology at age 12 after he received a mobile device that could access the internet. By exploring it, he was able to create a website all by himself. At the moment, Elisha is putting together a blockchain event with a heavy focus on cryptocurrency to raise discussions on regulations and the future of cryptocurrency in Africa.
The Bitcoin fever is sweeping across Africa and young people are investing in it. Kenya was ranked the fifth highest bitcoin holder per capita in the world. Nigeria was placed third and South Africa is in sixth position.