In the last five years, Nigeria has traded 60,215 bitcoins, valued at more than $566 million which, apart from the US, is the largest volume worldwide on Paxful, a leading peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace. Between May 2015 to the middle of November 2020, bitcoin trade in Nigeria have increased yearly at least 19% in volume since 2017, and the highest volume (20,504.50) was traded in 2020.
Bitcoin trade had its highest spike of 30% this year during the national lockdown in the country and the highest volume traded during the peak of the pandemic. between January and September, Paxful was reported to record a 137% increase in new registrations in Nigeria.”
The company says Nigerians make up around a quarter of its customer base with 1.3 million registered accounts. The growing uncertainty and instability around the Nigerian naira, which has had increasingly divergent official and parallel exchange rates with the US dollar, has created an opportunity and practical use case for bitcoin trade in Nigeria. The divergent rates have long been a striking feature of Nigeria’s economy but more so in the last half decade as the country’s financial authorities have attempted to micro-manage the supply of foreign exchange and “defend” the naira.
In the last couple of years, other African countries, most prominently Zimbabwe, have seen a spike in cryptocurrency trade led by bitcoin, due to currency fluctuations and uncertain monetary policy. In some cases limits to the trade has been prompted by a lack of reliable local platforms.
The increased awareness and availability of easy-to-use bitcoin platforms to Nigerians have largely increased bitcoin liquidity in the country, therefore solving the first problem hindering adoption. Nigerians now have several formal and semiformal bitcoin platforms to use, ranging from international platforms including Paxful, Binance, and Luno, and local ones such as Quidax, Busha, and BuyCoins. However, long-term watchers say most trading in the country is done on informal channels such as Telegram, WhatsApp bad WeChat.
Bitcoin traded as low as $3,600 in March due to a massive sell-off on global financial markets has this month surged past $20,000 for the first time. While in the past, the value has increased like this only to later dropped drastically in a few weeks, some analysts say this increase may continue into 2021 as it appears it is due to the growing interest of institutional investors in the cryptocurrency.
Source: Quartz Africa/Uwagbale Edward-Ekpu
What is a Bitcoin and how does it work?
Each Bitcoin is basically a computer file which is stored in a ‘digital wallet’ app on a smartphone or computer. People can send Bitcoins (or part of one) to your digital wallet, and you can send Bitcoins to other people. Every single transaction is recorded in a public list called the blockchain.