According to a report radio France Internationale, a Nigerian has returned $80,000 worth of Bitcoins sent to him in error. Nigerians have often received bad press due to a few individuals from that country who get involved in malicious activities such as online fraud and drug related crimes. This story is worth a share not only because $80,000 worth of Bitcoins is a lot of money, but also because it dispels the single narrative that has cast a dark cloud on Nigerians for so long.
Keith Mali Chung was stunned to find his account had been credited with 7.8 Bitcoins, the equivalent of $80,000. He immediately set out to find who the Bitcoins belonged to and how they found their way into his account. The young Nigerian was stunned at the BTC balance in his account.
“I trade in Bitcoin, but never such a high amount,” Mali Chung explains on the phone from the Nigerian capital, Abuja and continues, “I knew it had to be a mistake so I posted an announcement via some WhatsApp groups to track down the owner.”
Three days after his frantic attempts to find the owner on WhatsApp, there was still no word. He took to Twitter where a response came from someone who had the correct encryption code for the transaction. It turned out that the owner of the Bitcoins mistakenly sent to Chung was a Nigerian politician who has asked to remain anonymous.
Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular in Nigeria. Bitcoin is gaining more popularity as young Nigerians prefer it to the local Fiat currency due to high bank charges. Just last week, the country’s central bank introduced a 2 percent charge on cash deposits over 500,000 Naira in several states and a 3 percent withdrawal on the same amount. Though this is meant to encourage a cashless society, it has also pushed locals to find other ways to transfer money digitally.
Mali Chung travels around Nigerian giving free workshops about the potential of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
“People are especially interested in learning about international transfers to avoid bank fees,” Mali Chung has observed. “People in the Diaspora use it to send money home, and people here also transfer Bitcoin to relatives abroad.”
The country’s top bank is yet to regulate cryptocurrency transactions despite a high interest in crypto among Nigerian youth. Chung’s workshops have helped start a debate in the country about the positive and negative impacts crypto can have in a country that has a bad reputation in the world of banking and political corruption.
Image Courtesy of oas.org