The country is now the region with the highest search volume for these terms, with other countries on the list, including Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Africa. Most of the search activity has come from the coastal regions of Delta, Edo, Anambra, Bayelsa, and Rivers.
Nigeria to legalize crypto
Facing 18.5% inflation and a 400% rise in energy costs in the past three months, citizens are seeking alternative financial options. Despite a recent monetary policy that involved a redesign of its top three local currency denominations, the country has seen little improvement in its financial struggles.
In response, the country’s government is reportedly in the process of passing a law that will recognize the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to keep up with global practices.
If the Investments and Securities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill is signed into law, it will allow the local Securities and Exchange Commission to recognize cryptocurrency and other digital funds as capital for investment. The law was proposed in December 2022.
This move is seen as an effort by Nigeria to keep up with global trends and developments in capital markets. The passing of the law will also outline the regulatory roles of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Securities Exchange Commission on matters relating to digital currencies.
This law comes almost 24 months after Nigeria banned crypto activity in February 2021, with the Central Bank of Nigeria ordering exchanges and service providers to cease operations and mandating banks to close accounts of individuals and entities engaged in trading activities.
However, the passing of the new law is not seen as a complete reversal of the ban but rather a review of what is considered legal within the framework of operations in Africa’s largest country
Nigeria’s lack of interest in eNaira
In addition to the assignment of legal recognition to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the law also comes as Nigerians show little to no interest in Nigeria’s central bank digital currency, the eNaira.
The eNaira had only achieved a 0.5% adoption rate 12 months after its launch. Despite the government’s efforts to crack down on crypto activity earlier on, adoption continued to increase following the ban in February 2021.
From January to August last year, Nigerians trailed the United States in Bitcoin trading volume. Additionally, Nigerians were found to be the most crypto-curious nation in a study conducted by CoinGecko in April.
With rampant inflation and economic malaise plaguing the country, it is no surprise that Nigerians are turning to alternative financial options such as Bitcoin.
The country has also recently entered into early-stage discussions with binance to develop a crypto-friendly economic zone that will support crypto and blockchain-related businesses in the region.