If there’s a place where cryptocurrencies draw significantly more attention than anywhere else right now, it has to be Nigeria. Africa’s largest economy is driven by its oil exports, expanding manufacturing, financial services, communications and information technology sectors, but also by a tech-savvy generation that asks Google about Bitcoin more than its peers in other countries. Despite the progress, however, cash remains the only option for many Nigerians to buy cryptocurrency. New services are aiming to satisfy that demand.
Half of Nigeria’s Population Remains Financially Excluded
Nigeria accounts for close to a quarter of all internet users in Africa. Over 123 million Nigerians have access to the web according to Internet World Stats latest data, and one would think that using an online platform to acquire cryptocurrencies isn’t an issue for them. Indeed, opportunities to buy bitcoin on the internet have been increasing, and so have the people that take advantage of them. The Nigeria Bitcoin Community portal lists a number of broker and trading platforms available in the country such as Quidax, Luno, Blockvila, Alphabits, and P2P exchanges like Remitano, Localbitcoins, Paxful, Coindirect, Buy Coins, and Coincola. Other options include Cryset, Redimit, Instantgold.
Purchasing cryptocurrency online, however, often requires the buyer to pay electronically, using “traditional” methods such as a bank transfer or credit card. And here is the real issue — having access to the internet doesn’t mean you get to have a bank account too. Around half of Nigeria’s 200 million citizens remain unbanked, and together with the category of the underbanked they form a majority of almost two thirds. According to data released by the World Bank, only around 40% of Nigerian adults have an account with some financial institution or a mobile money provider.