Cardano (ADA) looks to rival M-Pesa, the first mobile money payment system in the world, as a leading payment system in Africa.
Earlier in the year, the Cardano Foundation led by their founder, Charles Hoskinson, toured Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tunisia in a bid to improve the overall global adoption of the blockchain and ADA coin across developing states. The blockchain is perfectly poised to take over developing markets in Africa, Central Asia, South America and other developing areas as the Cardano blockchain offers solutions to interoperability, scalability and sustainability in these areas. The main focus of Cardano however seems to be Africa as it presents a wider market with easier barriers to entry.
However, Cardano (ADA) will face huge competition from the most successful mobile payment industry in the world in M-Pesa. The M-Pesa service (which means “mobile money” in colloquial Swahili) currently serves over 30 million subscribers around the world with Albania, Egypt, Romania, Lesotho, and Tanzania as the main markets. The service was started by Safaricom Limited, the largest telecommunications company in Kenya and owned by Vodafone Inc.
Cardano blockchain Vs M-Pesa
The dominance in payment systems of M-Pesa is currently unrivalled by any company on earth. Paying for a service on mobile is easier in Nairobi than doing it in Hong Kong, London, Johannesburg, or New York. The service spreads to over 30 million subscribers in Kenya and abroad allows the transfer of cash through mobile phones effectively replacing use of fiat money.
M-Pesa was released in 2007 during the boom of mobile phones in Africa hence the quick adoption rates in Kenya and the rest of Africa. Over 25% of Kenya’s gross national product flows through the service with 17 million of Kenyans using the service (34% of the total population). The service has kept on growing through the years which has fastened the economic development of the country.
“If Cardano can be used in agricultural supply chain transactions, and they have the ability to be transferred P2P with extremely low friction, then it opens an entirely new world of commerce in many of these countries. Unlike M-Pesa, you can build out additional financial services with Cardano–Lending being the big one!” – Reddit user on Cardano and M-Pesa
The peer-to-peer service aims to open up additional services such lending (through M-Shwari), a social network infographics (through Bonga) and other initiatives on various sectors of the economy that will see it retain its position as the world’s largest mobile payment system.
Competition from Cardano blockchain
Other mobile operators in the country such as Airtel have complained that Safaricom’s dominance in the market undermines their business, and called for a leveling of the playing field. With such a domineering effect on Africa’s payment systems, will Cardano be able to compete with M-Pesa?
It is crucial to note that the two companies are not direct competitors as Cardano blockchain offers more than just a transfer payment system. However, for Cardano to integrate its blockchain in agricultural supply transactions in Ethiopia and gain mass adoption across the continent, challenging M-Pesa’s payment system will be key to its successes.
In conclusion, Cardano is currently leading the race in technological developments and the platform but with Safaricom’s M-Pesa so far in adoption rates and ease of payments, it will take some years before the blockchain gains a similar customer base in Africa.