In the month of May 2020 Nigerians contributed to $35 million in Bitcoin transactions, further emphasizing the role of Africa’s most populous nation as the leading economy on the continent for Bitcoin.
$35 Million in Bitcoin Transactions and Counting
Nigeria dominated Africa’s cryptocurrency markets with the highest volumes of Bitcoin transactions by Nigerians over thirty days. The volume of transactions was so high that even the total transactions of other African nations could not measure up to the $35 million in Bitcoin transactions:
₿ Nigeria – $35, 147, 166
₿ South Africa – $7, 130, 711
₿ Kenya – $6, 904, 750
₿ Ghana – $4, 007,376
₿ Central African Republic – $336, 579
₿ Tanzania – $220, 463
Nigeria has made a name for itself over the years as the hub of Bitcoin in Africa. With a population of over 205 million and a crippled Naira, many households across the West-African region are seeking new ways of conserving and growing their wealth.
The value of the Naira has dropped to unforeseen levels over the years as oil prices dip and the economic fortunes of the nation worsen. With a weaker Naira, it becomes much harder to carry out necessary transactions for businesses and households as foreign currency becomes more expensive for those who need to carry out transactions with organizations and people in other countries.
From traders to school teachers, more people are becoming aware of the apex cryptocurrency and how they can benefit from it. In 2019, Nigeria topped Google Trends rankings for searches for Bitcoin, suggesting higher levels of interest in the new digital gold. This is in contrast to previous years when Western, European, and Asian regions dominated Google search for interest in the cryptocurrency.
The Tables Turn in the Cryptocurrency Industry
Data suggests that searches for Bitcoin between January 2011 and 2019 indicated a rapidly increasing interest in Bitcoin from African regions, including Nigeria.
Between 2012 and 2015, the following nations dominated rankings for Bitcoin searches:
₿ Hong Kong
Over time, the tables have turned as more Nigerians and other Africans gain an understanding of the benefits of using Bitcoin to make their lives easier. Lagos, Nigeria eventually became the top city in Nigeria for search queries in relation to Bitcoin. Data shows that Lagos, Nigeria topped the list of cities indicating the most interest in the cryptocurrency.
₿ Lagos, Nigeria
₿ Vienna, Austria
₿ Munich, Germany
₿ Berlin, Germany
₿ Los Angeles, United States
₿ Toronto, Canada
₿ London, United Kingdom
₿ Sydney, Australia
₿ New York, United States
₿ Singapore, Singapore
The People Choose Bitcoin Over Traditional Finance
One of the most significant factors affecting the decision of Nigerians to opt for Bitcoin over fiat is the slow pace of innovation in the traditional financial ecosystem. Nigeria’s PoS (Point of Service) transactions doubled in two years, rising to over $1.8 billion. Costs such as this threaten long-term savings plans of households and profits of businesses.
Another example of the slow pace of innovation in the traditional financial industry can be found where Nigeria received $96 billion diaspora remittances inflow over 6 years but a significant proportion of this amount received could have been much higher if not for the costly fees of remittance which traditional financial institutions charge people for sending money abroad. Many banks and traditional remittance firms have made little improvements in their processes to improve the speed and costs of transactions. In contrast, Bitcoin’s ecosystem of software engineers continues to work day and night to improve the speed and cost-effectiveness of the apex cryptocurrency.
In addition to low levels of innovation in traditional financial institutions, customer service has deteriorated over the years. Many bank account owners in Nigeria find themselves facing unforeseen events such as failed transactions and unexpected debits. With Bitcoin, one becomes their own bank with more secure options of storage for their money.
Nigeria’s largely young population will continue to drive the adoption of Bitcoin. They are open to new ways of living. With new streams of information at their fingertips, they can learn about different options to manage their finances. As a result, Nigeria is likely to continue dominating the markets, pouring more investments into the cryptocurrency industry as it propels them towards financial independence.