Data from Google Trends indicates that Lagos Nigeria ranks as the top city based on the volume of online searches for Bitcoin (BTC). This statistic implies high interest in Bitcoin, though surprisingly very little has transpired in the way of crypto adoption in Africa’s most populous country
This is slowly changing though, as young Nigerians who are increasingly frustrated with existing payment systems, look for viable alternatives. Lagosians are increasingly beginning to see Bitcoin as a viable substitute for the United States Dollar. The city’s growing freelance community has been in between a rock and a hard place with payment options like PayPal being against sending payments to Nigeria, thanks to the country’s infamous online fraudsters.
The growing freelance community, which keeps growing everyday thanks to the high unemployment statistics, is beginning to look at crypto-currency payments as a viable option. Freelancers have a challenge getting paid since most of their clients are based abroad, however with a BTC wallet and an abundance of local exchange services, freelancers in the city can breathe a sigh of relief since they will be able to get paid on time, easily.
Apart from freelancers, business owners are also using Bitcoin as well as other cryptos as substitutes for foreign currency and banks. Companies like Bitpesa make this possible by offering easy access to liquidity, which can be strenuous in frontier markets like Lagos. Nigerian Blockchain strategist at OneWattSolar, Victor Alagbe- a blockchain company leveraging blockchain technology- had this to say about the crypto outlook in Nigeria;
“I see crypto taking up a strong position in the remittances space. It’s often cheaper, less stressful (in terms of documentation) and faster to send and receive crypto. Many younger folks in the diaspora are now leveraging crypto to send money back home. Some techies working remotely are also getting paid in crypto.”
With mobile telecoms and smart phones becoming a permanent fixture in the country, as well as over 100 million active internet subscriptions, Bitcoin as a payment technology is able to leverage this web access. This allows tech-savvy Nigerians to participate in the growing crypto trend. Despite the high interest in cryptos among Nigerian youth there is still a lot of work to be done according to Alagbe;
“There’s still a whole of lot education that needs to go into helping people understand the relationships between Bitcoin (crypto) and its underlying Blockchain technology. However, the Nigerian market is likely to focus on crypto to the exclusion of other applications of Blockchain inasmuch for as long as there’s profit to be made in the speculative side of crypto-currency.”
Crypto in Nigeria is just like crypto in the few African countries that are paying attention. Despite millions worth of crypto being traded by Nigerians as well as other young Africans on sites like Bitcoin and Remitano, you will struggle to find a business that accepts cryptos.
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