A growing number of businessmen in Nigeria are opting for handling their business using the digital currency instead of the Naira. The country’s national currency seems to be more volatile than Bitcoin, at times.
As cryptocurrencies fight for relevance around the world, Nigerian citizens are starting to use Bitcoin as an alternative to their own currency, the Nigerian Naira. If you take a quick look at the Naira on TradingView, you’ll quickly see how the currency has been losing its value consistently over the past 5 years.
Clear devaluation of the Nigerian Naira over the past 5 years.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise Nigerian entrepreneurs would rather deal in Bitcoin than their own currency. One example is Silas Okwoche, co-founder of Nerve Mobile. The self-taught engineer was purchasing Android smartphones from China via Alibaba. However, when the Nigerian Naira fell over 15% against the Chinese Yuan, his venture came to an end. Overnight, his product became too expensive to purchase and resell.
Another Nigerian entrepreneur, going by the name of Temo, also acquires his hardware from China. However, unlike Silas, this tech-savvy businessman uses Bitcoin to manage his affairs. Whenever new hardware from China is needed, Temo exchanges Naira for Bitcoin through LocalBitcoins.com — or a similar peer-to-peer marketplace, — and trades the digital currency for the Chinese yuan. He claims exchange fees are much lower than traditional methods, and the transactions are completed at a much faster rate. When using banks, Temo needs to pay fees to both Nigerian and Chinese banks, and he’ll most likely have to wait a week for his money to be available.
Another Nigerian success case is Soji, who works as a web designer in Lagos. “I can use Bitcoin for anything now […] It means I can invest and also pay anybody currently, except old people, I will send them Bitcoin. But some people think it is a scam to deal in Bitcoin and they also fear being hacked, as many people do not know how to protect themselves online,” said Soji. Thanks to cryptocurrencies, Soji is now capable of purchasing online goods and services, such as web hosting, where previously his currency was not accepted.
Toyosi, a freelance crypto trader and investor from Lagos, believes the majority of Ponzi schemes are gone and Bitcoin is starting to stabilize. He’s the founder of SureRemit, a company using a cryptographic token as an alternative for sending money overseas.
While Nigeria’s adoption of cryptocurrencies might not be news, it is still interesting to see how people come up with creative ways to use them to ease their lives. Nigeria’s Central Bank might’ve called Bitcoin a gamble, once upon a time, and even warned against investing in it, but that hasn’t seemed to deter young entrepreneurs from pursuing their dreams.
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