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Nigeria’s Curious Crypto Surge

As of October 2021, Bitcoin’s 24.2% adoption in Nigeria is the largest of any country. It remains the most popular coin to trade in Nigeria, but Ethereum, Dogecoin, and Binance Coin are not too far away in terms of statistics.

The Central Bank of Nigeria banned banks and financial institutions from trading crypto and allowing clients to make payments to cryptocurrency exchanges. They also told them to terminate clients’ accounts who violate this rule. As an alternative, the CBN has introduced a Central Bank Digital Currency called eNaira.

eNaira is an intriguing CBDC that the CBN advertises as a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. Details on its official website seem to back up this statement. The Central Bank of Nigeria purports it to be accessible to offline users and has also designed an extensive awareness campaign surrounding it, hence speculations of a late launch. Primarily, this is to educate the Nigerian population, especially the rural population, on how to use this cryptocurrency. Like most other CDBCs, the eNaira’s primary goal is to reduce or eliminate the dependence on the US dollar.

To use the cryptocurrency, you must submit the following information through the eNaira app for registration: First Name, Last Name, Date of Birth, State of Origin, and Email. This information is personal, and users must not disclose it to third parties. Depending on your verification tier, you may need to submit your ID, BVN (Bank Verification Number, an identify verification code given to bank account holders) to access higher transaction limits.

Nevertheless, none of this has deterred people from trading crypto in the country, and crypto trading has actually increased dramatically since then, a classic example of a Streisand effect. Consumers purchase crypto using decentralized exchanges under banks’ radars to get around this restriction. Considering that the eNaira does not work outside Nigeria (because that would require international cooperation – a luxury rarely afforded to any country), many users prefer to use a globally accessible cryptocurrency.

Indeed, there are dozens of suitable cryptocurrencies used by traders and users alike, enabling cross-border payments without discriminating based on country or asking for ID. As of now, there are scores of Nigerians without BVN-attached accounts, making the task of monitoring illegal transactions difficult for authorities already, so it turns out that both digital currencies and fiat suffer from this same problem. Both attempt to solve it differently: one with regulation, the other using awareness campaigns.

During the recent global adoption spike, Several crypto firms have jumped at the opportunity to provide buy/sell crypto services to their customers, especially highly-traded pairs such as Naira to USD. OWNR Wallet now supports buying crypto using several new fiat currencies, including Nigerian Naira. Users can now save money by purchasing crypto using several new fiat currencies without incurring conversion fees.

OWNR Wallet supports a vast collection of national currencies to purchase crypto with, including 15 national currencies implemented in the last month alone, and will continue to add support for more currencies in the near future.

 

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