Nigeria’s interest in bitcoin declines, just behind El Salvador – Nairametrics

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Nigeria was ranked as the second country most interested in bitcoin, despite the difficulty accessing the country’s trillion dollar crypto.

As evidenced by Google’s trending data, the turmoil in financial markets caused by COVID-19 has definitely changed the way Nigerians view the entire financial system, with Nigeria being among the top countries in bitcoin searches.

Based on local geographic metrics, Delta, Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, and Enugu rank in the top five states with the greatest interest in Bitcoin in Nigeria.

It comes as CBN has stepped up its campaign against cryptocurrency traders and is now targeting entities and individuals who provide P2P platforms or services to clients who trade crypto assets.

Nairametrics previously reported that some banks arbitrarily froze the bank accounts of people suspected of trading cryptocurrencies as part of the CBN’s new crackdown.

Since Nigerians are among the most tech savvy in the world, it is very easy for them to adopt the use of bitcoin. Despite this, young Nigerians are not the only ones embracing bitcoin.

Earlier this year, the Central Bank of Nigeria denied crypto firms access to the banking ecosystem, forcing many cryptocurrency firms to go out of business. Other companies have also been forced to scale down their operations using P2P systems due to the same blockade.

Flutterwave, Paystack, and Monnify are among the crypto exchanges that partner with NBFIs and OFIs to transact with bank customers in Nigeria. This allows them to accept debit cards and direct transfers. These companies cannot continue to provide these services on the basis of the circular instructions.

Why CBN is kicking Bitcoin

Cryptocurrency is considered illegal money by the CBN. “Currently, cryptocurrency does not belong to our monetary system and cryptocurrency transactions should not be done through Nigerian banks,” the CBN said.

The Nigerian Apex Bank claims that the anonymity, untraceability and speculative nature of cryptocurrencies mean that they are increasingly used for money laundering, terrorist financing and other criminal activities.

Given that a large percentage of Bitcoin transactions are remittances, this was always going to be a concern for the Nigerian central bank, which sees controlling remittances as a way to meet its exchange rate targets.

Another possible reason for the ban is the use of cryptography during the #EndSARS protest. During protests against police brutality that rocked Nigeria in October 2020, young people resorted to crypto assets to avoid CBN restrictions on their accounts.

Why Nigerians love bitcoin

As a fiat currency, the naira is sensitive to inflation and devaluation. A significant number of young Nigerians prefer to store assets in bitcoins or stablecoins and therefore would prefer to pay a premium through P2P trading which is becoming increasingly difficult amid the ban on CBN crypto.

Compared to existing traditional channels, bitcoin transactions are extraordinarily easier to execute due to their borderless nature.

At the end of the line

Bitcoin has outperformed all Nigerian assets since its emergence. A growing number of Nigerians are not giving up on owning one of the most disruptive financial asset classes in human history. So they’re willing to pay a premium to hold the crypto regardless of the central bank ban.


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