When Bitcoin (BTC) funded the Nigeria Special Anti Robbery Squad (SAR) protests, that event shed light on the fact that the crypto industry had room to grow in Nigeria. The Feminist Coalition, the leading group of the SAR protests accepting donations, found that 40% of BTC funded their protests.
The cryptocurrency raised $387,000. Thanks to government corruption, funds were not able to be received. The EndSARs protests were fighting against police brutality from the Special Anti Robbery Squad, who likely had the Government support.
Cryptocurrencies’ ability to conceal identities and run as a peer to peer system protects it from Government corruption and protects its users. Before the charitable event, the primary use cryptocurrency had in Nigeria was for fraudulent activities.
Chainalysis data shows that from June 2020, there was 8-million dollars worth of crypto sent to fraudulent accounts. There is hope that Nigeria’s crypto-economy could take a turn for the better. More people see that there are benefits to crypto that do not involve illegal acts.
Among African countries, Nigeria has been ranked number one in terms of the number of people using cryptocurrencies. In Nigeria, $139 million transactions occurred in 2020 alone.
Nigeria is number 8 in the 2019 -2020 index that measures crypto use of the whole world.
Abolaji Odunji’s story
Reuters reported how Abolaji Odunji, who sources handsets and accessories from the United Arab Emirates and China pays his suppliers in Bitcoin in the middle of this year.
These suppliers requested that Mr. Odunji be paid in crypto because it was more efficient for them. Mr. Odunji has found that he gets to save more profits since he does not have to buy dollars through selling the naira.
Making the shift to crypto helped Mr. Odunji increase his profile dramatically. He explained that going crypto protected his business from the currency devaluing. There are many small businesses in Nigeria that are opting to go crypto.
Ahmed Rasheed story
Coindesk shared the story of Ahmed Rasheed, who in 2018 opened his Bitcoin wallet for his daughter, who was yet to be born. In 2019 he managed to gather $720, which amounted to six months of salary for him.
Mr. Rasheed gathered the crypto through airdrops. Airdrops are projects which allow you to have a free wallet as part of their marketing strategy. Mr. Rasheed was able to buy a laptop with the money he had gathered and then opened a wallet for his wife and eldest daughter.
Now he markets a blockchain firm, and his wife works for a blockchain project. To pay his daughter’s school fees, Mr. Rasheed changes his crypto savings to naira.
There is a national change occurring in regards to the way that crypto is received. Crypto is becoming a way of life for many in Nigeria.
Paxful, a Bitcoin exchange from September 2020 alone, gained 137% more than last year. Paxful now has 600,000 Nigerian users.
Crypto is becoming a way for Africans to make life more convenient and cost-effective through crypto. The narrative around digital currencies has changed from one that would cause law enforcement to be cautious to one that sounds encouraging.