Bitcoin trade in Nigeria hits $1.16 billion despite CBN ban

The worth of bitcoin (BTC) traded by Nigerians from January 2021 to June 2022 peaked at N497.35bn ($1.16bn) indicating an increasing market of the digital currency in the nation.

Bitcoin

This is according to a report by Paxful, one of the significant peer-to-peer platforms in the country.

This trade boom comes despite restrictions by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the trade of cryptocurrencies.

Recall the apex bank had in February 2021, announced the enforcement of a regulation prohibiting dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges.

While giving reasons for the ban, Acting Director, Corporate Communications of the CBN, Osita Nwasinobi, mentioned that using cryptocurrencies in Nigeria was a direct contravention of an existing law.

Nwasinobi questioned the legality of bitcoin asking why any entity would disguise its transactions.

He also added that cryptocurrencies posed a risk to financial institutions and the country as it has become well-suited for conducting many illegal activities including money laundering, terrorism financing, purchase of small arms and light weapons, and tax evasion.

Nwasinobi however, noted that the ban on such transactions will not negatively impact Fintechs.

Nigerians have in the last 18 months increased the trade volume of bitcoin taking it to $1.16bn in BTC volumes according to figures from one of the major peer-to-peer platforms in the nation.

In 2021, a trade figure of N428.75 billion ($760 million) in BTC volumes, was recorded by Nigerian traders translating to six million trades over the course of the year – at about 16,000 trades per day.

Paxful also noted that due to the large trade volume within the year, Nigeria has become its largest market.

The first six months of 2022 had seen bitcoin trade volume from Nigeria reach about N171.50bn ($400m), a figure which sets it on track to beat the 2021 trade volume.

While the CBN restrictions had stopped interbank trade of bitcoin, Nigerians had resorted to the use of peer-to-peer -(P2P) platforms.

The resilience of the country's P2P platforms has placed Nigeria as the 6th leading country in the world in terms of cryptocurrency adoption according to the Chainalysis’ 2021 Global Crypto Adoption.

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