Nigerians show huge interest in crypto, stigma might withhold adoption

14 Apr, 2019 | Updated: 14 Apr, 2019
by Fifi Arisandi
Nigerians show huge interest in crypto, stigma might withhold adoption

Cryptocurrency is getting more and more attention in Nigeria, however, there's still a catch for a wider adoption. 

According to the data from Google Trends, one of the major cities in the country, Lagos ranks number one in online searches volume for the keyword “Bitcoin”.

Although the big number doesn’t indicate an equally growth of crypto adoption in the African country, it does show the potential for future booming of crypto.

With the increasing unemployment rate in the country, young well-educated Nigerians are looking for alternative ways to make a living.

Some of them manage to get a decent income by offering services like copywriting, web design and computer programming.

That said, the payment matter can be challenging as payment services like PayPal has banned Nigerians from receiving international money transfers, thanks to the notorious internet scammers in the country.

This is probably where cryptocurrency comes in. According to CoinTelegraph, Bitcoin is seen as a substitute for the US dollar and the perfect solution as all they need is just a Bitcoin wallet and an account in one of local crypto exchanges.

Moreover, many business owners in Nigeria also sees crypto as a way out from the complex traditional banking system.

As Victor Alagbe, the COO of blockchain energy startup, OneWattSolar said, “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.”

Moving forward, there’s a huge chance of crypto adoption in the country, especially with the fact that Nigeria has more than 100 million active internet subscriptions, most of them are on mobile platforms.

That, however, wouldn’t come easy as many Nigerians have that negative stigma over Bitcoin and cryptocurrency due to the previous Russian Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox (MMM) scam that was popular in the country between 2016 and 2017.

“Many Nigerians got to know about Bitcoin during the MMM Ponzi scam. As a result, they tend to see Bitcoin as another fraudulent investment scheme. However, with proper education, this misinformation can become a thing of the past,” said Joseph Samuel, a blockchain analyst, web designer, and team leader at “Humane Love,” a Lagos-based charity project on the EOS blockchain.

Recently, Paxful Bitcoin Exchange is also accused of fraud and illegal account closures. 

Read more: Nigerians accuse Paxful exchange of fraudulent activities

Government’s institutions, like the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF), the Cryptography Development Initiative of Nigeria (CDIN) and the Nigerian Blockchain Alliance (NBA) are actively working to combat crypto scams in Lagos and other parts of the country.

Joining the efforts to change the image of crypto in Nigeria is legit crypto businesses that has been founded and running well.

“Over the course of my involvement in the Bitcoin OTC scene here in Lagos, I have observed an exponential increase in the number of people adopting BTC trading. More people are getting into the business, earning steady commissions, and improving their standard of living,” said Adekemi Bitire, a marketing executive at OTC Bitcoin exchange, IBIC Exchange.

How will the African country embrace cryptocurrency? Stick with Chepicap for updates.

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