Nigerians are trading close to $4 million worth of bitcoin a week on 13 local exchanges, despite multiple warnings by authorities against investing in cryptocurrencies. Experts have called on the government to rethink its position and adopt smart regulations, “allowing innovation to move forward”. Regulators need to understand how it works before applying bans, analysts say.
Warnings Have No Effect on Nigerians
Regulators and legislators in Nigeria have taken a hardline stance on cryptocurrencies. The latest manifestation of their attitude came in the form of an investigation into bitcoin trading ordered by the Senate. There have been multiple warnings from other institutions, as well. Last year the Central Bank of Nigeria stated that “virtual currencies” were not legal tender and told banks their dealings with cryptos were at their own risk. The Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation has warned Nigerians that they cannot rely on consumer protection when trading cryptocurrencies.
However, all those warnings have not changed hearts and minds, as the latest trading data shows. The value of bitcoin has decreased since last year, but interest in the most popular cryptocurrency is yet to wane in Nigeria, Leadership reports. Nigerians have continued to invest, trading weekly up to N1.389 billion worth of bitcoin (>$3.8 million) in February after an average of N1.299 billion (<$3.6 million) recorded at the end of December.
Up to 13 cryptocurrency exchanges are currently operating in Nigeria. Trading on local platforms scored a weekly record high of almost 1.95 Nigerian Naira worth of bitcoin in mid-December, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. The amount is equal to $5.4 million USD under current exchange rates…