Seven months after Nigerian banks were barred from enabling cryptocurrency transactions, bitcoin remains an actively traded asset in the country, partly due to the presence of platforms that enable peer-to-peer transfers.
The value of bitcoin traded on LocalBitcoins and Paxful—two platforms that match crypto sellers with buyers—grew from $32 million in January and February this year to more than $44 million in August. Most of that has been on Paxful, which has 1.5 million users in Nigeria out of its global base of 7 million users. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been popular in Africa for a number of reasons, but wealth creation is arguably the priority for most users. Inflation and low productivity have affected the strength of currencies like Nigeria’s naira, and South Africa’s rand, driving consumers to alternatives to secure their earnings.