Nigeria is the top crypto market in Africa based on all indicators.
Nigeria posted the highest numbers with 66.8% of crypto interest in the continent year to date. This is more than seven times the second country on the list.
This data is from the CoinGecko report on the level of crypto interest in Africa,
The “Giant of Africa” is not only dominating pop culture as it leads the global takeover by Afrobeats but is also leading the pack in the cryptocurrency space.
Nigeria has also recorded high volumes across peer-to-peer platforms like Paxful and LocalBitcoins (when the platform was operational) and centralized platforms like Binance.
Financial regulators in the West African country are still suspicious and cautious about cryptocurrency usage in the country.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Feb. 2021 barred banks and financial institutions from dealing in or facilitating transactions in crypto assets, citing money laundering and terrorism financing risks.
The apex bank asked regulated financial entities to seize any partnership with crypto firms and close accounts related to cryptocurrency transactions.
However, in December 2023, the central bank lifted the ban on transacting in cryptocurrencies, while saying global trends had shown a need to regulate such activities.
Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) jumped on the revolving Crypto train to publish regulations for digital assets that signaled Africa’s most populous country was trying to find a middle ground between an outright ban on crypto assets and their unregulated use.
Regulators had also made moves that left stakeholders scratching their heads.
For instance, a new law approved in May, last year introduced a 10% tax on gains from the disposal of digital assets, including cryptocurrencies. The law’s implementation has hit a dead end since it contradicts existing regulations that do not recognize the use of crypto in Nigeria.
Despite the government’s opposition to cryptocurrencies, the West African country has seen the deployment of blockchain technology by state institutions in some areas. The Nigeria Federal Executive Council approved the national blockchain policy in May last year to help develop a framework for blockchain adoption. The Central Bank of Nigeria launched the e-naira in October 2021 and has dedicated resources to increasing its adoption, from hackathons to the addition of near-field communication (NFC) technology to its CBDC mobile app.
Also, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) announced the use of blockchain technology to generate and validate National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificates in Nigeria. The announcement was made by the director general of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, at the Stakeholders’ Policy Dialogue on the National Blockchain Policy.
From the look of things, more investments will continue to pour in and Nigerian-led cryptocurrency projects will begin to take center stage. The West African state is well placed to continue its lead on the continent and become a bigger Crypto player globally.