Bitcoin Gains Traction with Kenyans as Protests Escalate

Bitcoin surges as “freedom money” in Kenya after youth revolt against contentious tax hikes, offering hope amid economic turmoil.

Guy worried pointing at a massive Bitcoin in Kenya whilst protest are happening.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • Wildly unpopular tax hike proposals in Kenya spark massive pushback.
  • Kenyan youth mobilize via social media, erupting in violent clashes with police.
  • The situation has propelled Bitcoin into the spotlight as an alternative financial system.

Despite Africa’s growing population and abundant natural resources, many countries on the continent, including Kenya, are grappling with persistent economic challenges. Frustrated by oppressive legacy economic systems, the youth are increasingly turning to alternative financial solutions, with Bitcoin emerging as a prominent option.

This movement towards alternative solutions gained significant attention this week as protests erupted over a parliamentary-approved finance bill proposing substantial tax hikes. The demonstrations turned violent, forcing President William Ruto to withdraw the bill in a surprising climbdown. However, this victory came at a steep cost, with 23 lives lost and hundreds more wounded in the clashes.

Bitcoin For Economic Equality

Amid the rising opposition to the Kenyan finance bill, Noelyne Sumba, an operations worker at Machankura 8333, highlighted Bitcoin’s potential role as an alternative to the current fiat system, stating that the existing financial structure has brought Kenyans nothing but oppression.


“Many young Kenyans see Bitcoin as a way to escape the restrictive monetary policies imposed by international financial institutions, which have contributed to the country's economic challenges,” stated Sumba.

Sumba’s advocacy goes beyond individual adoption, calling for state-level embrace of Bitcoin. She believes this move would significantly reduce Kenya’s dependency on foreign debt and offer an escape from “government policies that hinder economic and individual growth.”

While global state-level Bitcoin adoption has been tentative, Kenyan authorities appear to be receptive to the idea. Last month, President Ruto revealed that he had invited mining firm Marathon Digital to consult with the treasury on crypto regulations and energy needs for Bitcoin mining.

Despite the government’s apparent steps towards embracing cryptocurrency, their approach to traditional fiscal policy was a step too far for protestors.

Kenyans Say No to Tax Hikes

On June 20, the controversial finance bill passed a second parliamentary vote with 204 in favor and 115 against, allowing it to proceed to the Committee of the Whole House for consideration. This action sparked the protestors’ anger.


Stirring protests against the bill escalated in response to the parliamentary approval, leading to thousands of demonstrators in Nairobi storming government buildings, including the parliament, as well as local offices of the World Bank and IMF on Wednesday, with protests continuing into Thursday as documented by Zoom Afrika.

The financial bill sought to raise $2.7 billion through multiple tax increases to reduce Kenya’s budget deficits and state borrowing, with the administration presenting the bill as a necessary step towards fiscal responsibility.

The bill proposed sweeping changes affecting various aspects of daily life in Kenya, introducing new taxes on essential items like bread, cooking oil, and sugar, directly impacting living costs. It also proposed a 2.5% motor tax based on vehicle value, while eliminating VAT exemptions and imposed a 16% tax on financial services transactions, including money transfers and foreign exchange.

On the Flipside

  • Kenya‘s economic struggles are part of a wider trend across “the global south,” where many countries face high debt burdens and pressure from international lenders to impose policies that reduce the citizensstandard of living.
  • While Bitcoin offers potential benefits, it also comes with risks such as price volatility and regulatory uncertainty.
  • 70% of sub-Saharan Africa is below the age of 30.

Why This Matters

The unfolding situation in Kenya underscores the urgent need for innovative solutions to long-standing economic challenges in developing nations. Bitcoin’s entry into the conversation presents a radical potential solution for achieving financial independence and fostering economic growth.

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This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Samuel Wan

Samuel Wan is a finance professional turned crypto journalist, known for his insightful reporting on market trends, regulatory changes, and technological developments within the digital asset industry. His ability to simplify complex concepts and report the facts has made him a trusted source in the crypto community. Beyond his writing, Samuel is an active mountain biker and gamer.