Cryptocurrencies burst into the limelight when the prices of one bitcoin (BTC) reached a new all-time high of $19,783.06 (Sh1.97 million) spurring a massive worldwide interest in the blockchain-backed technologies.
Like betting, cryptocurrency craze has caught up with Kenyans with some locals puting millions of shillings at stake in a potentially high-reward but risky gamble.
A recent report by Citibank analysts said that Kenyans have accumulated holdings of bitcoins estimated at more than Sh163 billion, which could cause widespread disruption to the economy were the virtual currencies to collapse.
As it stands now, there is no denying that cryptocurrencies have come a long way and a variety of businesses both online and offline are now accepting bitcoins as payment.
Such popular worldwide stores include Microsoft, Overstock, Newegg, Dell among others.
In Kenya, cryptocurrencies are still a no-no after the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and Capital Markets Authority (CMA) warned investors separately that investing in such deals is risky as they are not legal tender.
Currently, there are no guidelines or legislations on how trading in forex online or dealing in cryptocurrencies should be done.
Despite all the odds stacked against them, a Nairobi-based start-up, Boxlight Electronics, has gone ahead to become the first adopter of bitcoin payment in Kenya for its products.
The firm, which deals in the sale and distribution of television (TV) sets, home theatres and home appliances, says bitcoin as a form of payment is becoming a must-have for companies that trade online.
The company has a warehouse along Mombasa Road and imports its electronics goods from China whose prices range between Sh6,999 and Sh1.2 million.
“We have received tonnes of requests from our customers to pay using digital currencies. As a company whose 90 per cent of customers are young, tech savvy and predominantly online we choose to be all inclusive and adapt to the needs of those that prefer this type of currency,” said Boxlight Electronics chief executive Robinson Murage.
A majority of their customers are aged between 24 and 45 with most