Francis Ngannou: Bitcoin Could Be the “Future of Finance” in Africa

Francis Ngannou – the current Heavyweight Champion of the UFC – recently discussed Bitcoin adoption in Africa with Max Keiser. He said that Bitcoin could become the “future of finance” for the continent, by helping Africans escape monetary control from France.

Taking Back Monetary Control

The MMA fighter covered the topic on stage this Thursday at the Bitcoin 2022 conference. He explained why economic trade is so difficult there, due to France backing up the currency of 14 African countries.

The CFA franc – originally the French African Colonial franc – is a remnant of colonial France across the continent. Its purpose is to foster economic integration between the colonies, controlling their resources and political systems.

Today, the currency is effectively split into two. The eight members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), call it the African Financial Community franc. For the 6 members of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMC), it’s the Central African Financial Cooperation franc.

Despite having the same roots, these currencies are not interchangeable. Also, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) does not recognize them, forcing holders to exchange their money with France for international trade. Specifically, the CFA franc has a fixed exchange rate with the euro (formerly the French franc). Lastly, the Central and West African central banks must deposit 50% of their FX reserves with a French treasury account.

That’s where Bitcoin comes in: the asset is global and permissionless, enabling international trade for anyone worldwide.

This is a massive boon for Africans, 70% of whom have no bank account. As Ngannou explains, most people living there cannot afford to pay the fees associated with these accounts. Furthermore, they struggle to receive approval to open one in the first place, due to personal revenue requirements.

“With Bitcoin, it’s something that everybody can do,” he said. “You can go on your phone, download your app, and use just that to trade.”

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Francis Ngannou. Source: Forbes

MMA Fighters Into Bitcoin?

Francis Ngannou wasn’t the only athlete to make a big appearance. Ben Askren, a former welterweight in the UFC, sat on the commentary desk at the conference. Speaking with Dave Portnoy of Barcel Sports, he explained why it’s best not to hold one’s Bitcoin on an exchange. Askren personally holds his Bitcoin in a multi-sig wallet.

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Jorge Masvidal – another UFC fighter – personally awarded other fighters in Bitcoin at a bare-knuckle MMA event in October.

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