The month of October was filled with a myriad of activities for cryptocurrency users in Nigeria and outside of the nation. Nigeria’s celebration of independence was cut short by tensions that arose as the #EndSARS protests and government opposition to the protests shed more light on the utility of Bitcoin in a nation where human rights continue to be threatened on a daily basis. Outside of the nation, more citizens in similarly unstable political climates have come to appreciate Bitcoin for the sovereignty which it grants them. Meanwhile, private companies look to capitalize on the increasing demand for Bitcoin across the globe.
Nigerians Look to Bitcoin During Police Reform Protests
People took to the streets of different regions to protest for the reform of policing in Nigeria. Protestors lamented the abuse and murder of different Nigerians by members of the SARS unit who in many cases (often undocumented) have tried to extort money from young Nigerians. The protests and the reaction of government agencies to the protests made it clear that Nigerians across the nation have lost faith in not only the police but also the politicians.
Protestors complain of police brutality by a unit of the police force, SARS, and the thousands of cases where claims of assault by victims have gone unanswered. Every day, innocent men, women, and children across the nation fall victim to abuse of power by bad eggs in the SARS unit of the police force.
A significant proportion of protestors lost access to their accounts and had to resort to using Bitcoin, through which they raised funds to support the movement. Nigeria’s Feminist Coalition was among one of the notable groups which had to look to Bitcoin during the period. The international community of cryptocurrency lent their voices to the cause. Ethereum founder, Vitalik Buterin made a tweet sympathizing with the Nigerian people while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey called for Bitcoin donations to be made to support the efforts of people protesting for police reforms in Nigeria. His support was met with applause.
Despite the fact that many of the protests were peaceful, the Lekki Massacre occurred where men, women, and children were gunned down by military officers. Adding to the gruesomeness of the event was the fact that unarmed protestors were singing the national anthem of their country and holding Nigerian flags before they were shot in the thick of the night. More Nigerians have lost confidence in the system which they once believed so strongly in. With the loss of confidence has come a stronger sense of hope in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin which is not controlled by any country’s government or central bank. As the race to make cryptocurrencies and their networks more turing complete continues, it is hoped that a lot of the economic activities which Nigerians depend on for household income can be digitized so that they do not have to be overly dependent on governments to achieve advancements in their quality of life.
Venezuelan President Advocates for Use of Cryptocurrency to Fight U.S. Sanctions while China Looks to Oust Competitors
Venezuela’s President, Nicholas Maduro revealed more information on his government’s plans to reduce the negative effects of the U.S. sanctions. A new bill was presented which could help shield the impact of sanctions placed by Trump’s administration.
The nation has some of the most active users of cryptocurrency, a result of an unstable fiat which many believe has been decimated by previous economic policies within the nation and outside of the nation. The sour relationship between a socialist Venezuela and capitalist America has been considered as the main catalyst for the degradation of its fiat currency.
According to Maduro,
“The anti-sanctions bill is the first response to give new strength to the use of Petro and other cryptocurrencies, national and global, in domestic and foreign trade, so that all cryptocurrencies of the world, state and private, could be used. This is an important project that is under development.”
The anti-sanctions bill could help the nation to determine how feasible it will be to use cryptocurrencies for both domestic and foreign trade. The government also hopes to use the bill to support state-owned cryptocurrency projects like the Petro.
Meanwhile, China introduced a draft law to protect its digital yuan from cryptocurrency competitors. The law (drafted by the People’s Bank of China) gives legal status to its digital yuan and also bans organizations or individuals from making or issuing digital currencies.
According to a report by Nikkei Asia,
“The bill also bans organizations and individuals from making or issuing digital currencies, apparently over concern that managing the money supply would become difficult if virtual currencies issued by the private sector circulate in the market. As a result, such cryptocurrencies as Libra, which has been proposed by Facebook, may not be allowed in China.”
Kenya has, perhaps, taken a less aggressive approach to competitors as it begins discussions with international banks about entering the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) space. The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor, Dr. Patrick Njorge suggests that the creation of its own digital currency would help Kenya to lead the trend towards a “less cash economy”.
Private Companies Acquire Record Numbers of Bitcoin
More companies than ever are converting their cash to Bitcoin as the cryptocurrency proves its resilience against more traditional investment mediums. A report revealed that close to two dozen firms held over $10 billion in Bitcoin reserves, the equivalent of 785,999 BTC.
Microstrategy is among the firms leading in the acquisition of Bitcoin. In August, the billion-dollar tech firm announced that it had purchased 21,454 Bitcoin Bitcoin for $240 million. It later purchased another 16,796 Bitcoin.
The CEO of Microstrategy, Michael Saylor says that his business intelligence firm plans to hold Bitcoin for the next 100 years. He also adds that he has no intention of selling it.
“Bitcoin, if it’s not a hundred times better than gold, it is a million times better than gold, and there is nothing close to it.”
The month of October was filled with many lows and many highs for economies across the globe which culminated in the cryptocurrency breaking past $14,000. There is little doubt about the resilience of Bitcoin against market forces. The question remains, however; how long will it be till the 4.5 billion people online jump on the Bitcoin train?