The newly elected Kenya’s President William Ruto is belived to be in sync with the dreams of the crypto community in Kenya and is expected to bring policies that will hasten crypto adoption in the country and boost Fintech Start-up growth.
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Issues surrounding crypto trading was not at the centre of campaign debates during the campaign period. Pundits believe that much youthful age of Ruto will make him to be more accommodative of nascent innovations like crypto.
“It is only an assumption that because he’s younger. But ever since the cautionary notice issued by the central bank in 2018, no candidate has actually volunteered to talk about the crypto question in depth” said Roselyne Wanjiru, a researcher at the Blockchain Association of Kenya, an industry body. Kenyan regulators have not proposed any sort of actual crypto rules to date.
It is important for the region as the nation leads Africa in crypto adoption and was recently ranked fifth globally for adoption by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The report by the U.N. affiliate said that 8.5% of Kenya’s population own cryptocurrencies and that’s ahead of the 8.3% that own crypto in the United States.
Kenya’s narrow presidential election result had Ruto winning 50.5% of the vote compared with Odinga’s 48.8%.
Rufas Kamau, a research and markets analyst, stated that in addition to his age, Ruto’s youth-friendly campaign (in which he coined the phrase “hustler nation”) could mean he has a positive outlook on crypto.
“The previous administration was very harsh. We don’t know exactly how this change will affect crypto but he has been supportive of the youth so we are hoping he will provide opportunities through crypto,” Kamau said.
Yvonne Kagondu, the founder of Kenya Blockchain Ladies, said that she wasn’t sure which result would have been better, although one of Ruto’s key policies is to appoint a gender-balanced cabinet.
“On the one hand, Ruto is younger but he appears to be strict and his word is final and that can be scary. We weren’t confident with either candidate. Regardless, we will continue to work in silence. We don’t want any issues with our government,” Kagondu said.
Eugene Mutai, an African crypto miner and the chief technology officer and co-founder of Raise, said the elections have left Kenya’s crypto community in a gray area.
“What really matters is who they actually appoint as the leader of the Central Bank of Kenya and also Ministry of Finance. This election is yet to change the story of crypto in Kenya,” Mutai said.
Ruto’s victory is not final because Odinga has rejected the result. Odinga has said that his team will pursue all legal options, potentially delaying clarity for crypto enthusiasts in Kenya.