Despite its incredible price volatility, Bitcoin is still the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. China is where the largest volume of trade in Bitcoins happens, but Nigeria is catching up as consumers and businesses alike are adopting the cryptocurrency as a valuable tool to trade with.
At present, Bitcoin is primarily seen an investment asset, however more and more people are taking it on as a great way to get past costly cash remittance services.
Many African countries rely on money transferred from diaspora in Europe and America.
By the time that money reaches Nigeria through services such as bank transfers and Western Union, a large chunk has been bitten off in the form of transaction fees.
Bitcoin is giving these people the perfect alternative to send money home at an affordable price by cutting out the middleman.
Sending Bitcoins to your next door neighbor is just as affordable as sending them to the other side of the world, which is why many Nigerians are opting to accept Bitcoin as payment rather than traditional currency.
The Nigerian Naira has lost close to half of its value in 2016 due to the country’s worst recession in decades.
Trading foreign currency for the Naira has become nearly impossible, therefore the people of Nigeria have had to look for and turn to viable alternatives, such as Bitcoins.
Nigerians are investing in Bitcoin to keep them safe from future fluctuations of the Naira. At present, Bitcoin transactions are not taxed and the low transaction fees have convinced over 100,000 Nigerian merchants to accept Bitcoin as payment in order to increase their profit margins.
Bitcoin’s early days had it associated with dodgy dealings, so it should be little surprise that Bitcoin’s popularity in Nigeria stems from a Pyramid Scheme. Many Nigerians benefited from The MMM Pyramid Scheme in Nigeria that promoted the use of Bitcoins. The Pyramid Scheme encouraged new startups to adopt Bitcoin payments and they are expecting great returns.
Bitcoin may be showing positive growth in terms of public adoption; however, it should kept in mind that the market for cryptocurrencies remains volatile. They make for a great investment opportunity, though they come with a risk just like any other investment.
Before the Flood
One the first Nigerian startups to accept Bitcoin in Nigeria was Minku Design, a jewelry and clothing retailer founded by Kunmi Otitujo, who sells her clothes online and started accepting cryptocurrency as payment in 2014.
Otitujo has a savvy business mind and acknowledged that many of the companies that run how we communicate and operate today did not exist twelve years ago. She puts the blockchain technology in the same bracket as those companies, calling it a revolutionary idea that will help emerging economies such as Nigeria.
Her boyfriend was the one who introduced her to Bitcoin, and even though she liked what she heard, she was skeptical about it because of its heavy association with illicit drug trade on the dark web. The Chinese government’s attempts to ban Bitcoin payments did not help either, however she persevered knowing full well that every revolutionary idea will experience some form of resistance from established parties.
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