The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned that bitcoin and digital currencies are not legal tenders but Nigerians don’t seem to care.
Bitcoin Adoption Rising Despite Apex Bank, Senate Warnings
In its December 2019 edition of ‘The Nigerian Banker’, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) highlighted how bitcoin is booming in Nigeria, despite the central bank’s anti-crypto stance.
As per its report on digital currencies:
The CBN has also declared that digital currencies are not legal tender with naira as the sole legal tender.
There are concerns on the use of other digital currency which is currently changing the global payment ecosystem.
And it’s not just the CBN. The Nigerian Senate has also tried its best in deviating the vox populi off the bitcoin and crypto track. But it seems the people don’t really feel settled by a disappointing government and the ongoing economic disparity.
As per the latest report from Financial Times, Muhammadu Buhari is already past six months in his second tenure as the Nigerian President, and still:
Nigeria is going backwards economically. A combination of anaemic growth and a fast-growing population means the economy has been shrinking in per capita terms throughout Mr Buhari’s tenure. The security situation is unstable, despite some progress against Boko Haram, the Islamist terror group. Clashes between herdsmen and settled farmers are affecting much of the country. Crucially, Mr Buhari’s reputation for personal integrity has not translated into a discernibly more efficient — or honest — state.
Hence citizens have chosen to put their faith in a form of currency which though unregulated, guarantees absolute financial freedom.
BTC is Immensely Popular in Nigeria
A couple of months back, Bitcoinist reported the findings gathered by Binance’s research wing w.r.t bitcoin popularity in the world country-wise. Analysis of BTC’s Google search heat rankings by country/region from 2011 till September of this year revealed startling results.
Bitcoin has been popular in numerous parts of the world since 2011 including northern Europe, Russia, New Zealand, US, Germany, the UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong. But since 2017 it’s Nigeria and South Africa that have hogged the limelight for being ‘BTC hotspots’ of the world. So much so, that the two countries have maintained their top tier rankings implying that the majority of the population is aware of the cryptocurrency.
This must have driven Binance to list Nigeria’s fiat currency the Naira as the first fiat-to-crypto trading pair on its platform.
Twitter Boss Jack Dorsey Eyes Crypto Growth in Africa
Square and Twitter chief Jack Dorsey is aware of the rising bitcoin and crypto interest in the African peninsula. That’s why he has announced plans to move to the continent for a good long time to understand the challenges of starting a company there.
During his visit, he was seen actively participating in local bitcoin meetups in Ghana, which is also one of the countries where BTC is gaining amazing traction as a useable form of currency.
.@jack is showing us where the puck is going:
1. He's in Africa at local BTC meetups
2. His #CashApp is 'banking the unbanked' all over the country, 40% penetration in depressed areas
3. He's hiring cypherpunks & core devs
He's not yelling about ETFs or lettuce on the block https://t.co/QJXNrN28kX
— Jacob Kostecki (@jacobkostecki) November 11, 2019
This could be an opportunity for his payments company to take charge and supercharge the crypto scenario in Africa.
What do you think about bitcoin’s rising popularity in Nigeria and other African countries? Let us know in the comments below!
Images via Shutterstock, Twitter: @jacobkosctecki