Crypto Users in Nigeria Continue to Rise Despite Crackdown

Crypto Users in Nigeria Continue to Rise Despite Crackdown

The use of crypto in Nigeria continues to rise despite the government’s crackdown efforts.

Alongside, Bitcoin’s peer-to-peer trade volume posted its second strongest week last July. 

Based on analyst’s data, the country’s top search interest keyword on Google’s search engine is “Bitcoin”.

Additionally, the peer-to-peer trading of the world’s largest cryptocurrency was denominated in the Nigerian Naira and increased steadily this year.

As a result, another analyst stated that the nation is currently ranking behind the United States as the second-largest market for the trading of peer-to-peer BTC.

Moreover, the expanding adoption of Nigeria to Bitcoin helped Sub-Saharan Africa to rise as the leading region by peer-to-peer volume.

Additionally, it recorded a weekly volume of $18.8 million. This figure beats out the $18 million of North America in the previous week.

Since October last year, tensions in Nigeria have escalated following a huge public protest. The aim of the protests was to oppose police brutality and the so-called “Sars” police unit that swept the country.

In this EndSars protest, protestors were attacked with tear gas and water cannons, killing a total of 50 civilians.

This includes 12 people shot dead by the armed police with live ammunition last October 20, 2020.

Therefore, the consolidation of political and economic crises sparked the local crypto adoption which includes social repression, control of currency, and uncontrolled inflation.

In addition, the government crackdown also gave way for economic repression.

For instance, the social organizations supporting protestors with food and medical aid later found out that their bank accounts were frozen.

Amid the violence, they increasingly used cryptocurrency to put their economic activity outside of the government’s reach.

Cryptocurrency Repression

Last February, the Nigerian government banned licensed banks in the country from processing cryptocurrency transactions.

This is an attempt to crackdown the adoption of its citizens on digital assets.

Nonetheless, the country’s steadily increasing peer-to-peer Bitcoin volumes suggest that its rising crypto user base has been hugely driven underground.

It is a bid to access crypto assets outside the government’s scope or reach.

However, its actions in the repression of cryptocurrency received some internal criticism as the country’s Vice President publicly condemned the ban in February of this year.

On the other hand, despite the opposition of Nigeria towards decentralized digital currencies, an analyst said that it is currently developing a Central Bank Digital Currency.

Last month, the country’s central bank announced that it will start its CBDC trial from October 1 this year.