The developing world as a whole has seen increased interest and a surge in popularity of cryptocurrency. African nations such as Nigeria are amongst the countries making the most important progress in the adoption of blockchain technology, providing legislation recently for the protection and regulation of digital assets. Globally, people view cryptocurrency as an investment to protect against failing financial systems and fluctuating fiat currencies. Studies now show that Nigeria is perhaps Africa’s fastest growing market for cryptocurrency.
Nigeria and Bitcoin
For years, interest in blockchain and the progressive usage of cryptocurrency has been a main feature of Nigeria’s upward economic mobility. Cointelegraph reported in August 2020 that Nigeria’s interest in Bitcoin has been the highest in the world in recent months. This comes in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen many developing economies take a major downturn.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, also recently welcomed the continent’s 15th Bitcoin ATM into the country, reported Cointelegraph. Alongside South Africa and Ghana, Nigeria is amongst the top five countries for searches of “Bitcoin” on the internet.
The Nigerian population is known to be amongst the biggest users of cryptocurrency in the world. Nairametrics reported in May 2020 that about 11% of Nigerians own or use cryptocurrencies.
The huge popularity of cryptocurrency in Nigeria comes in response to the largely detested bureaucratic processes for money transfers in the country, which are also very expensive. Cryptocurrency has thus become a way to bypass the bureaucracy of Nigeria’s financial institutions, like in Argentina.
Coindesk reported that Nigerians are also using cryptocurrency as a way to trade with global partners, especially China. The ease of use in transferring money across borders represents a major benefit. This is in contrast to the excessive fees when transferring fiat currencies. Nigeria’s surge in cryptocurrency usage comes as fellow African states such as South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana attempt to broaden their stakes in the field.