Nigeria, a new Bitcoin Adoption Hot Spot!

Nigeria, Africa’s giant is most famous for is petroleum.  Nigeria remains Africa’s largest oil producer, the 12th largest producer of oil in the world.  Oil plays a major role in the country’s economy, accounting for about 70% of government revenue and 95% of foreign exchange income. Nigeria is located in Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin and Cameroon. There are over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria, all with their own language and heritage. The current population of Nigeria is 190,226,816 based on United Nations estimates, and growing.  The median age of 18 years old and 49.9 % of the population is urban.

In terms of FinTech, Nigeria is set to become Africa’s FinTech hub.  Nigeria experienced a boost in mobile money operations last year. Cell phones are popular in Nigeria and more than 94% of people owning one.  Smart phone penetration is increasing however, it is currently around 30% which equates to approximately 23 million smartphones in use.  There are an estimated 150 million active subscriber lines in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s internet users are over 94 million, as at August 2016 and reported by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The Central Bank of Nigeria is becoming very active in understanding the impact Bitcoin and Blockchain technology will have on their country and the Central Bank of Nigeria Says ‘We Can’t Stop Bitcoin’.  On the 12 January the Central Bank issued a statement to Banks and Financial institutions warning them on the use of cryptocurrency.  On the same day, another statement was issued by the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warning cautioning citizens from investing in Bitcoin, OneCoin and SwissCoin.  It is clear that the Central Bank still needs to understand that Bitcoin is a computer program, payment system and store of value which is not owned by anyone or a business or a country, however, the same cannot be said about OneCoin and SwissCoin which are MLM Multi Level Marketing companies.  A controversial Russian Ponzi scheme is betting on Bitcoin to relaunch in Nigeria – buyer beware!

Regarding the Blockchain technology revolution, the Central Bank of Nigeria has described it a “sink or swim” situation. 

Bitcoin adoption in Nigeria is growing at a rapid rate.  Take a look at the graph below on LocalBitcoin’s volume:-

Bitcoin can be bought via the LocalBitcoins over the counter platform that connects local buyers with sellers.  In Nigeria, there are exchanges such as NairaEx and Luno or local Peer to Peer platforms such as Remitano.  The demand for Bitcoin increased dramatically which pushed the Bitcoin price to over $1200 when the rest of the world (besides India) were trading in the $700’s. Economics 101 applies – Diminishing supply coupled with increased demand and the prices go up! Bitcoin is a free market and the price will be whatever the buyer will purchase at.  Recently the Bitcoin Price spiked to $1600 in Nigeria.

BitPesa is a company that sends and collects business payments in multiple currencies, between Africa and the rest of the world – perfect for importers and exporters into Nigeria.

Send Bitcoin to MPesa accounts for free with Bitwala

Exciting new startup Cashaa, is revolutionizing Cash Remittances to Nigeria.   

“We consider ourselves as an Uber of the cash transfer industry. Cashaa is the first to solve the problem of the single geographical focus by making the cash delivery and entry points peer-to-peer.  We developed this innovation by merging two unique markets.  Without an official launch of our MVP we already have more than 10,000 plus cash-in/out points in 1040 cities, with this growing day by day.” Kumar Gaurav, Cashaa’s co-founder & CEO told CoinTelegraph.

It is clear that Nigeria is a melting pot of Bitcoin adoption – certainly a country to watch closely in coming months.
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