Among the Afghan investors, there is one Afghan who stands out in particular: Roya Mahboob. She is the CEO of the Afghan digital currency exchange, WasalPay. The Afghan refugees are also interested in investing in bitcoin, and their contributions to WasalPay are exemplary. However, there are many risks involved in investing in Afghanistan. For Afghan investors, it is important to understand that this is an unregulated market.
Afghan women, such as Roya Mahboob, are now using crypto wallets to transfer money, evacuate, and settle in other countries. She was once considering reducing her non-profit work and returning to business, but she realized the importance of education and wants to do more. She has now pledged to double her efforts in Bitcoin education and will implement a curriculum on the subject. To educate her students, Mahboob will offer classes on financial literacy, how to be your own bank, and how to invest in Bitcoin.
Because the Afghani currency is rapidly depreciating, Afghan women are turning to cryptocurrencies to get the money they need for school. Most women in Afghanistan do not have access to bank accounts or the paperwork to open one, so using a crypto-currency like Bitcoin is a great way to get the money you need in a flash. She has even helped Afghan women start saving through her non-profit, Digital Citizen Fund, and now pays her Afghan employees in Bitcoin.
Another way she supports women technologists in her country is to invest in Bitcoin. She recently helped sponsor an all-girl robotics team that won second place at a competition in Washington, D.C. She is also working with a blockchain startup, Aragon, where she is the head of strategy and operations. With this network, entrepreneurs can use cryptocurrency without having to understand the backend cryptography.
After the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, Afghans were in dire straits. As many as 14 million people in the country did not have enough food to survive before the transition. Then, the Taliban took over, and the country’s economy slowed to a crawl. Banking accounts have frozen, and remittances are halted. ATMs are empty and financial exchanges have been shuttered. However, the new government has made it possible for the Afghan people to access their money, with the help of Bitcoin.
The Afghan government has not formally sanctioned cryptocurrency, but it does not have clear data on the market. As a result, it is nearly impossible for the government to monitor the activity of P2P exchanges in such countries. Still, many Afghans have gotten involved and are now eager to purchase bitcoin in Herat or Kabul. It is not clear whether or not the government of the Taliban will allow e-commerce in the future.
In Herat, the capital of Afghanistan, journalist Ruholamin Haqshana publishes his newspaper and receives his stipend in stable coins. The Taliban has regulated internet access, but most people still have no idea what cryptocurrencies are or how to use them. Nonetheless, the emergence of cryptocurrency could be a lifeline for the Afghan people. While most news outlets pay their journalists in stable coins, Haqshanas says cryptocurrency is becoming the preferred payment method for journalists and artists.
In July, Afghans began investing in crypto currencies, anticipating a Taliban takeover. As of July, approximately 13,000 Afghans were searching for information online about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It’s hard to measure the level of passion, but Google Developments has tracked online searches in the country. The results are a small snapshot of the growing popularity of crypto in Afghanistan.
An American NGO, Code To Inspire, is working with Afghan students to help them pay for expenses using cryptocurrency. The program provides each student with $200 per month, converted at a currency exchange, which is crucial for paying rent and feeding a family of six. Besides this, the Afghan economy has collapsed since the Taliban returned to the country in August, thanks to frozen foreign assets and a lack of international aid.
While the numbers of crypto users are small, Haqshanas’ efforts have already yielded a return on investment. He now earns more than his father, a doctor in Herat, and is following the advice of a 13,000-member WhatsApp group in Herat. Meanwhile, Parisa Rahamati earned $600 in February just by speculating in cryptocurrencies.
A recent media campaign has highlighted the fact that there are still problems for Afghans investing in monetary establishments. While international sanctions have made it harder for many people to withdraw funds, cryptocurrencies allow them to bypass those challenges and ensure that donations reach the intended recipients. Forough, an American who fled Afghanistan in the 1980s, has used bitcoin to help Afghans. She hopes that the Afghan government will soon realize that Bitcoin is a viable option for helping the people of Afghanistan.
As the Taliban take control of Kabul, WasalPay’s CEO is wondering how he will stay in business. He’s been receiving requests from Afghans to use the bitcoin-based service to top up their mobile phones. However, the CEO has run out of cash, and does not know how long he will be able to continue to provide services to the Afghan population. Former World Bank executive Asef Khademi explains that, in Afghanistan, he worked on a project to digitize payments. But after the Taliban seized power, he says all progress has stopped. But unlike many other emerging countries, Afghanistan cannot be stopped by the Taliban using Bitcoin.
Many Afghans have no bank account, and so they rely on physical cash to pay their bills. WasalPay’s investment in bitcoin has made this possible. Afghans use hawala systems – informal and outside of the banking system – to transfer money to family members. But these systems are still ineffective for people living in remote areas. As a result, many Afghans use crypto as a substitute for traditional banknotes.
The hawala system is a network of money-exchange houses and informal money-service businesses. Thousands of people are trying to flee the country due to the chaos. While the hawala system relies on personal contacts and a sophisticated network of money exchangers, there are still many people in Kabul who cannot use traditional banking methods. Despite the difficulties in transferring money, these individuals have found ways to keep in touch with relatives and friends.
The use of bitcoin in Afghanistan is growing, thanks in part to the government’s withdrawal of troops and the Taliban’s territorial gains. The rise of crypto assets was a relief for many Afghans who were stranded in a country ruled by a dictatorship. But it is important to note that the country’s economy has not yet embraced the use of digital coins. According to the Chainalysis 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index, the country ranks only twenty-fourth out of 154 countries. The country has ranked seventh in peer-to-peer exchange trade volumes.
After the crash of 2013, the women of Afghanistan were able to hold onto their bitcoins for a long time. They used it to send money to family and friends in the US and they also used it to purchase basic goods. She even started to negotiate with the Taliban to continue her educational programs. In the next few years, she plans to expand her educational program and incorporate Bitcoin into her curriculum. He hopes to increase the number of women who are learning the new currency.
A young Afghan man from the Khost province is an investor in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. He was hoping to escape Afghanistan for his safety and wants to live in Europe. He studied computer science and taught graphic design and web design in his country and planned to start a business that involved bitcoin and ethereum mining. Since the Taliban took over the country, he has been unable to return to his homeland to collect his earnings.
The Afghans who do have money in their bank account face many hurdles. They are limited to only $200 and $2000 a week, which means that customers wait in line for hours in order to make a transaction. Using cryptocurrency will allow the NGO to bypass these obstacles and ensure donations reach the most vulnerable people in the country. In addition to helping Afghans with their financial security, they will help those suffering in other ways, too.
Among Afghans who have escaped the country, Bitcoin has been a lifeline for many. Musa Ramin, an IT consultant, reclaimed a portion of his net worth in the cryptocurrency months before the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. He said cryptocurrencies offered him peace of mind and protection from inflation. His bitcoin portfolio has more than doubled since August 20, when he first invested. The Taliban’s takeover plunged the local currency into the black market, forcing millions of Afghans to resort to begging for money.
Even Western Union has suspended its services in the country after the Taliban took control of Kabul. Although MoneyGram and Western Union have resumed operations, the average Afghan still has no means to participate in the global financial system. Without the ability to send and receive remittances from family and friends abroad, the Afghan people are severely cash dependent. The collapse of the financial infrastructure could mean life or death for many Afghans. So, how do they invest in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?
There are many benefits to investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and you can do so with any amount of money. In the short-term, you can buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and earn a handsome income. And if you do, you can start your own business and become rich. But make sure you do your research before investing in any kind of cryptocurrency. In addition to that, bitcoin has been a boon for countless other people.