Although it is not officially approved, crypto trading is on the rise in Nigeria.

Logos, October 12 (Reuters) – Nigerian artist Ebuka Joseph began using cryptocurrencies when his business shut down last year due to Covid-19. He is now busy even though he is not accepted by the financial authorities.

“Crypto allows me to trade freely and in a few minutes we are done,” the 28-year-old told Reuters from a friend’s studio in Lagos.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in February banned local banks from trading with crypto currencies, warning of “severe sanctions” and blocking the accounts of companies using them.

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But Joseph’s appetite has increased, as in Nigeria.

For people like him, clamp has highlighted the benefits of using currencies outside the control of the central bank, and Nigeria, like Paxfull, has become a major marketplace for cryptocurrency.

Experts and users have told Reuters that Nigerians are moving to Crypto for business, as the value of the Naira is declining and it is often difficult to secure US dollars to save money and export remittances.

After the central bank’s suspension in March, the value of the foreign exchange reserves in Nigeria rose 17 percent against the previous month, according to Chinaalisis. Transactions in June were 25 percent higher than in the same month last year.

Another artist, Sli Megida, uses cryptoto to sell his works and says that buyers around the world can easily accept digital currencies and keep their money safe.

“Nara is declining and we are trying to keep the value of the art,” he called crypto, “a currency that people do not think they are paying too much or too little.”

On August 31, 2020, Odojo, a bitcoin trading vendor, demonstrated the Bitcoin application on his mobile phone in Lagos, Nigeria. REUTERS / Temilade Adelaja / File Photo

Accidents remain

In the year-to-June year in Nigeria, Paxfull’s peer-to-peer platform grew by 57%, with 83%.

He told Reuters that the use of the peer-to-peer exchange card in Nigeria since February had “continued to increase”.

Paxfull and Yelowcard, who opened an office in Abuja to persuade the government to change its attitude towards crypto, said Nigerians would generally return to crypto trading instead of speculation.

Chainalysis, in a report last month on African crypto, said the central bank ban locked most Nigerians out of traditional crypto exchanges, so many have switched to peer-to-peer systems.

This goes through platforms like Paxful or Local Bitcoins that verify both parties. Other users, however, exchange Nigerian Naira or other currencies with WhatsApp or Telegram contacts.

As a result, he said, the Chinese use cryptography may be higher than the figures suggest.

But the fears remain. In August, the central bank froze the accounts of some cryptocurrency users, claiming that they could receive money from illegal foreign exchange dealers.

But Joseph did not give up.

Joseph said, “They can be sold to foreigners and they can pay in different currencies, which can always change.”

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Reporting by Chijiyoke Oucha and Libby George; Additional report by Angela Okomadu; Correction by Gills Elgud

Our standards are published in The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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