Cryptocurrency Gains More Traction Among Nigerians

Dr. Eva Porras, founder of Blockchain Smart Technologies, sees the integration of blockchain in Africa’s financial systems as a transformative force. She believes that it is especially potential in Nigeria where the government has been driving blockchain adoption with initiatives like the National Blockchain Policy.

Porras emphasises blockchain’s ability to certify actions, particularly in fintech where transparent and immutable ledgers can ensure secure and fraud-resistant transactions. 

“One thing blockchain can impact is tracing,” she said to CoinGeek. “If you come from a region where a product has special qualities, you want to sell it at a premium price. Blockchain can help you prove the origin of this product.”

She highlights the scalability and low fees of blockchain networks like Bitcoin SV (BSV) and notes that, in addition to financial applications, blockchain can impact sectors like agriculture by enabling traceability to prove the origin and quality of products.

When it comes to blockchain, Nigeria has been a significant player in crypto adoption, with high levels of use driven by inflation, a depreciating currency, and foreign exchange shortages. At least 35% of individuals aged 18 to 60 actively investing or trading in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Nigeria. 

Crypto acceptance in Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has recently lifted its ban on banks and financial institutions facilitating cryptocurrency transactions, acknowledging the global need to regulate virtual asset service providers (VASPs).

The new regulations outline how financial institutions can engage in cryptocurrency activities, reflecting a shift in the CBN’s attitude and a recognition of the ineffectiveness of its previous stringent approach. 

However, Nigeria’s crypto regulations, particularly the licensing requirements set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), have faced criticism for favouring foreign companies over domestic startups.

The SEC’s rules, introduced in 2022, mandate VASPs to meet stringent criteria, including a hefty minimum capital requirement of 500 million naira. Local industry experts argue that these regulations make it challenging for Nigerian crypto exchanges to obtain licences, limiting opportunities for indigenous startups.

Critics call for a review of the framework to encourage inclusivity and enable the growth of the local crypto industry in a country known for its strong crypto awareness and adoption.

Experts believe the more accommodative stance could encourage formal oversight and facilitate further adoption of digital assets in Nigeria.

Adoption and adaptation

In Nigeria, lucrative opportunities within the cryptocurrency and blockchain sectors are attracting attention, particularly among the tech-savvy youth population. Job prospects in this space include roles like Blockchain Developer, where professionals design and maintain the underlying infrastructure, protocols, and applications for Bitcoin transactions.

The country has a high level of crypto curiosity, ranking as the top country in search interest for phrases like ‘cryptocurrency’ and ‘invest in crypto’ worldwide. 

Cryptocurrencies, known for financial inclusion and as a hedge against inflation, also offer a platform for innovation and entrepreneurship in Nigeria, allowing the youth to tap into a global market with a borderless and decentralised financial system. 

This trend extends to the gambling sector, where crypto betting platforms are seeing increased traction. Blockchain technology plays a central role in crypto betting, ensuring transparency and security by recording transactions on a decentralised network.

Anonymity and accessibility are also key attractions of crypto betting, providing players in Nigeria with discreet options in a potentially ambiguous regulatory landscape. Players can put their wagers on games like Mega Ball without worries.

Mega Ball by Evolution offers an immersive live game show experience in a glamorous studio with a 95.4% Return to Player (RTP) and a maximum payout of x1,000,000, blending the mechanics of 90 Ball Bingo with the excitement of numbered ball draws from lotteries. Players purchase tickets using crypto and aim to match lines on their Mega Ball ticket during the draw of 20 balls, competing for instant cash prizes.

With trends like these, the increasing volume of crypto transactions in the country, growing 9% year-over-year to $56.7 billion between July 2022 and June 2023. However, there is a need for education and awareness initiatives targeting both players and regulators to ensure informed decision-making and balanced policies that protect consumers.

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