Bitcoin acceptance increases in Nigeria as central bank blocks remittance in Naira




  •  Paxful the P2P marketplace's data shows Nigeria rank second in bitcoin trading volume.
  • Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed international money transfer operators (IMTOS) to cease processing diaspora remittance payments in Naira
  • Inksnation members launched a campaign demanding the Nigerian government to legalize Pinkoin (cryptocurrency) in Nigeria

Nigerian usage of peer-to-peer Bitcoin continues to rise in volume. According to Quartz Africa, Paxful data show the country ranks second only to the United States in trading volume, while Kenya rank No. 8 and South Africa, No 10.m

Paxful says Nigerians make up around a quarter of its customer base with 1.3 million registered account. "They mostly use the platform, for peer-to-peer and arbitrage trading," says Nena Nwachukwu, Paxful Nigeria regional manager.

Nigerians have traded over 60,200 BTC on the Paxful platform since 2015 amounting to about $566 million in volume over the period. Data from Coin Dance shows trading activity for the week ending Dec.12 at 886.3 million nairas (about $2.3 million).

The increase of interest in cryptocurrencies especially bitcoin in Nigeria is likely due to strict forex policies introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as the continuous decline of the Naira.

On Dec. 16, CBN directed international money transfer operators (IMTOS) to cease processing diaspora remittance payments in Naira.

However central bank claimed the move is in line with the new policy of allowing Nigerians to receive international payments in their domiciliary accounts. The CBN also issue a notice declaring that two IMTOs - TransferWise and Azimo were not authorized to operate in the country. 

With these strict forex micromanagement policies, the scarcity caused by these previous banking laws and rising inflation, declining confidence in the nation's fiat currency seems to have pushed more Nigerians into alternative currencies.

Recently, a fast-rising indigenous Decentralized Autonomous Organization "INKSNATION" with a private reserve cryptocurrency "PINKOIN" organized a programme tagged inksmart practicalizing peer-to-peer activities with their 7 million registered member where members are encouraged to use cryptocurrency for means of exchange for goods and services in all 36 State in Nigeria. But unexpected a large number of people turned out for the programme which later went out of control causing stampeding and injuries to many people.

However, the program exposed the level of hardship and poverty level in the most populous country in Africa, which triggered the member of the organization to launch a campaign demanding the Nigerian government to legalise Pinkoin with the hashtag #LegalizePinkoinInNigeria on Twitter.

"People want to be able to buy and sell, transact internationally and the more the traditional channels are being restricted the more people trade crypto" explains Eleanya Eke, a former co-founder of Buycoins Africa. "And the best thing about it is that it's almost impossible to stop. If you block the exchange it moves to Peer-to-Peer platforms that are non-custodial."

The question now is will the Nigerian government listen to the people's voice and fully legalized cryptocurrency in the country? 

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government earlier roll out a roadmap's framework named National Blockchain Adoption Strategy, but no framework for cryptocurrency yet in the country.

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