Prince Akpa, programme manager of the African Bitcoin Community has said that the challenges in cross-border transactions are pushing more Nigerians into crypto despite the current nature of the market.
The manager disclosed this while speaking at the developers Connect in Lagos noting that many factors will continue to drive the massive adoption of Bitcoin in Nigeria.
“When I want to transfer money from the Gambia to Nigeria, it is very challenging even though there have been platforms created to do that but if I use Bitcoin, and the person sends only the address, it’s easy for me to do all those things.
“Nigerians are scattered all over the world and they want to send money. Now, the only means they can send money home with cheaper costs, fast and devoid of any challenges of blockage or anything is by using Bitcoin,” he said.
He explained that using bank transfers keeps attracting high charges and exchange rate problems which crypto has been able to remove from all those transactions.
Despite cryptocurrency not recognised as a legal tender, Nigeria is ranked as the second country in the global crypto adoption index, a recent report by Chainalysis, a New York-based blockchain research firm has shown.
According to the report, the volume of crypto transactions grew year-over-year by nine percent to $56.7 billion between July 2022 and June 2023.
“Nigeria is one of only six countries in the top 50 by size globally whose crypto transaction volume grew year-over-year in the time period we studied,” the report said.
This is despite the country’s central bank saying in February 2021 that the use of cryptocurrencies is “a direct contravention of existing law” and banning commercial banks from dealing in them. It warned that cryptocurrency trading poses risks including investment loss, money laundering, and terrorism financing.
However, as a result of rising inflation and naira depreciation more Nigerians were prompted to invest in cryptocurrencies, the report said.
“The country’s uncertain economic climate has encouraged many citizens to seek financial alternatives, increasing the value proposition of cryptocurrency,” it added.
Increasing adoption of digital assets led Nigerian market regulators in May 2022 to publish a set of regulations for digital assets, signaling that the country is trying to find a middle ground between an outright ban on digital assets and their potential usage.
Speaking about the second edition of the African Bitcoin Conference organised by the African Bitcoin community scheduled to be held in Ghana from 1 to 3, December 2023, Akpa said it’s towards the massive adoption of Bitcoin on the continent to solve the financial challenges especially when it comes to local and international transactions among people.
“This year’s conference is a bit different from last year. We have Developers Day, the African Bitcoin fair, and as well as more discussions about how adoption has been in the past year, what projects our speakers have been up to and then interesting and new sponsors are also coming on board to share what their platforms are also doing to shape the financial landscape of the continent,” Akpa said.