Nigerians make more bitcoin searches than any other country in the world and it can drive monumental changes within Nigeria and across Africa.
If you were told to think of the country with the most bitcoin related Google searches in the last year and also one of the bases of a renowned crypto exchange operating in 40 countries, you would probably picture Switzerland, the UK or maybe China. In fact, the country in question is Nigeria. Locals here make bitcoin searches the most frequently and host high-profile companies like Luno who offer a complete bitcoin experience.
The lure of cryptocurrency in Nigeria is the same for many African countries. It can solve a lack of access to financial resources such as bank accounts and can help businesses grow. However, it doesn’t come without issues. One of the biggest problems with crypto in Nigeria is that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stated that crypto is not legal tender in Nigeria and warned locals against using crypto altogether. Read on to discover the state of play in Nigeria, how locals have reacted and what the future for crypto in Nigeria may be.
Nigeria’s Stance on Cryptocurrency
Nigeria’s central bank, as well as their senate, have both suggest that crypto should not be used within Nigeria and that it is not legal tender. The reasons they make these claims are because they want to protect their citizens from fraud and crypto crimes. However, others suggest that the officials are only making these statements to protect the local fiat currency, the naira.
How Nigerians Have Responded
The NCB may have made a statement in hope that Nigerians would be put off using bitcoin, but that has not played out and Nigerians are still just as interested in the crypto-sphere. The same occurred when Bangladesh and Bolivia banned crypto only for interest in them to surge even more.
This has proven to be the case in Nigeria where locals still trade on home and foreign platforms in abundance. It is estimated the Nigerians are trading around £3.5 million per week.
Why Nigerians Persist with Crypto
Cryptocurrency remains popular in Nigeria because it has the power to leverage real change. Despite one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, poverty levels are still high compared to the rest of the world and cryptocurrency can go some way to combating that.
Giving Nigerians easy access to bitcoin and borderless payments allow them to avoid cross-border fees when receiving money from family members abroad. It also allows them to invest in crypto, trade and offers more entrepreneurial opportunities.
What Next for Nigeria?
Nigerians may want their higher authorities to rethink their stance on crypto and consider regulating it. If the reason they do want people to stop using crypto is that they want to protect citizens from fraud and crime, then regulating it will help them do that. This is especially true considering their statements have not deterred Nigerians from using it in either case.
Source: Daily Post