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How can Nigeria drive bitcoin adoption

32% of people in Nigeria know and use bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. This is what emerged from a Statista survey, shared by the Twitter profile Documenting Bitcoin.

The research is actually dated 17 March 2021, so it was published at the height of the bitcoin rally. In April, the price of BTC hit an all-time high of $65,000 and then fell.

What is unique about the survey, which was only carried out on a select number of countries, is that Nigeria ranks first in terms of the number of respondents who say they use or own cryptocurrencies.

In fact, 32% of Nigerians use or own crypto, a much higher percentage than countries that are candidates to become blockchain hubs, such as Switzerland (11%) or the United States (6%).

Why Bitcoin is so popular in Nigeria

What Statista reveals is that the use of cryptocurrencies is so popular in Nigeria for two reasons:

  • the use of remittances (i.e. those who send money from abroad to Nigeria, perhaps to support their families who have remained in their home country);
  • the rise of mobile payments. 

Indeed, the research notes that the high cost of cross-border payments has prompted many Nigerians abroad to send money back home using cryptocurrencies. Also, many businesses are converting to crypto payments and this has increased the use and awareness of the industry. 

Moreover, like other nations in economic distress, Nigeria is also grappling with an increasing devaluation of the local currency. This has led the population to take refuge in bitcoin as it is easier to access than the US dollar.

Furthermore, the popularity of bitcoin in Nigeria is due to the fact that one of the most popular spontaneous movements, EndSARS, used bitcoin to fund itself. It was a protest movement against police brutality. 

It is worth mentioning that demographic reasons also explain the popularity of bitcoin: the average age in the country is 19. Nigeria is made up of young people, the millennials, those who are more predisposed to embrace technological innovations. 

The crypto world knows this well. Russell Okung, a Nigerian-born American football star and bitcoin supporter, recently wrote an open letter to the Nigerian president expressly asking Nigeria to follow the example of El Salvador where bitcoin has been declared legal tender

He was joined by the CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey according to whom Nigeria can potentially “drive” bitcoin.

Ultimately, there is every indication that the African state will play a leading role in the adoption of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. And this is despite the fact that government policies have not always been accommodating.

Eleonora Spagnolo
Eleonora Spagnolo
Journalist passionate about the web and the digital world. She graduated with honours in Multimedia Publishing at the University La Sapienza in Rome and completed a master's degree in Web and Social Media Marketing.