Covering the performance of companies listed on the Lusaka Securities Exchange (LuSE) is always a pleasure. However, there have been interesting discussions regarding a topic we touched on many moons ago. The rise of Bitcoin. We believe Bitcoin should have been a topic of discussion in Zambia from the very beginning. Why? It’s disruptive and in the medium term it’s making people very rich in digital currency.
The epilogue of November 2017, saw the coin rise to over $10,000. This is a currency that saw a 400% increase from January to August 2017. What we are seeing is undoubtedly history in the making. Companies such as Etoro have jumped in the arena and are now offering a packaged solution that brings together a number of crypto currencies such as bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Dash, Ripple and Litecoin into one package.
However, the digital currency is not without its critics. In September this year, Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer) slammed the coin as being a fraud and even went as far is stating that it offers only short term results indicative of him being a long term strategist. According to Bloomberg, comments attributed to Dimon actual influenced a 2.7% drop in the currency. Judging by its bull run in recent weeks, we believe as more people become aware of the coin, participation will fuel a further increase.
Although there are no official trading places in Zambia that accept bitcoin, its penetration into the market has largely been through groups such as the Bitcoin Achievers Club. Participation is through bitcoin mining and discussions with the organizers of this movement indicate that numbers are growing.
Should the surge the bitcoin price continue, more holders of bitcoin will opt to hold rather than sell. However, the unregulated currency uptake has caused a bit of a dilemma for reserve banks across the world as some seeing it as means for the underworld to move money. Russia for example, was considering banning payments in bitcoin (statement attributed to Alexey Moiseev deputy finance minister on coindesk.com). Until now, there has been no official position on the coin from the Bank of Zambia. However, we anticipate with more information and mining, it will become a topic of discussion. We say this because, bitcoin being powered by block chain will inevitably lead us to the conversation as block chain becomes ubiquitous in the payment solutions realm.