Nigeria currently has the highest number of people owning and trading digital currencies globally, New Telegraph has learnt. This came despite the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) ban on cryptocurrency transactions through Nigerian banks. According to a report by Finder, a global independent comparison and information service platform, Nigeria has the highest rate of crypto adoption in the world at 24.2 per cent. Nigeria is followed by Malaysia and Australia, which have 18.0 per cent and 17.7 per cent ownership of cryptocurrencies respectively. The Finder Cryptocurrency Adoption Index surveyed over 41,000 individuals in 22 countries.
The results show that investors from the top three countries are putting their money into bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano. Bitcoin, which traded above $64,000 on Tuesday, remains the most popular worldwide, as it has become a household name. Interestingly, some of the more developed Western nations show little interest in cryptocurrencies. The adoption rate in the U.K. is among the lowest, with ownership estimated to be 5.4 per cent.
According to the report, cryptocurrencies adoption in the United States of America stood at 10.4 per cent. Confirming the Finder’s report in a telephone conversation with our correspondent, the President of Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SIBAN), Mr. Paul Ezeafulukwe, said the report reflected the reality of the cryptocurrency adoption in Nigeria. According to him, many Nigerian youths who are unemployed or those who desire an alternative source of income are into crypto trading. Asked about the amount that may have been invested by Nigerians so far, Ezeafulukwe, who leads the umbrella body of cryptocurrencies traders in Nigeria, said the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency trading does not allow monitoring the amount that is coming in.
He, however, noted that exchanges globally knew where the transactions are coming from through the IP addresses. “Don’t forget that we are currently not using the bank gateways to buy crypto in Nigeria. A lot of people are doing peer-topeer trading. “For example, if I want to transact with you right now, it cannot go into the record, even though the currency has left me to you. Ever since the CBN ban, the majority of transactions have gone P to P, hence, it will be difficult to track the amount being traded by Nigerians,” he said. On why a country like Nigeria with little technology would be leading other developed countries in digital currency adoption, the SIBAN President said: “The fact is that the normal things that are supposed to work in Nigeria, such as infrastructure are not working, and high unemployment rate in Nigeria has pushed many Nigerian youths to look for alternative ways of making money. “This is like an advantage in a disadvantaged situation. The youths are left without a clear picture of tomorrow, so they began to seek opportunities in digital finance, digital assets, and cryptocurrencies. “Many Nigerian youths were attracted because crypto was initially being used for games. If you play games online and you win, they would pay you in Bitcoin. As of then, a Bitcoin was less than a dollar.
“Over the years, as adoption increases, the value of what Nigerian youths were holding increased significantly. And because we don’t have a system that is working, many Nigerians were quick to jump to something they see that is working. “But in a country like America, they have legacy systems that are working. In the U.K. and other European countries, they have systems that are working for them, so, they didn’t see the need for these things called digital currencies. “Again, their currencies have been stable. Here in Nigeria, you know how much value the Naira has lost between 2015 and now. That alone will push a normal thinking person to look for a Plan B.”