Nigerian cryptocurrency adoption continues to rise in spite of government crackdown, with peer-to-peer (P2P) trade volume for Bitcoin posting its second strongest week on record last month.
According to data from Google Trends, Nigeria still ranks number by search interest for the keyword “Bitcoin” as of this writing. P2P Bitcoin trading denominated in the Nigerian Naira has also steadily increased in 2021, with Nigeria ranking behind only the United States as the second-largest market for peer-to-peer BTC trading, according to Useful Tulips.
The growing Bitcoin adoption in Nigeria has helped Sub-Saharan Africa emerge as the leading region by P2P volume, with the region posting $18.8 million in weekly volume to beat out North America’s $18 million this past week.
A confluence of political and economic crises has spurred local crypto adoption, including social repression, currency controls, and rampant inflation.
Tensions in Nigeria have escalated since October, after massive public protests opposing police brutality and the infamous “Sars” police unit swept the nation.
The government crackdown saw economic repression too, with social organizations supporting the protestors with food and medical aid quickly finding their bank accounts frozen. Amid the violence, protestors increasingly turned to cryptocurrency in order to place their economic activity outside of the government’s reach.
In February, the government banned licensed banks from processing cryptocurrency transactions in an attempt to crack down on digital asset adoption.
However, Nigeria’s steadily rising P2P Bitcoin volumes suggest the country’s growing crypto user base has largely been driven underground in a bid to access crypto assets from outside of the government’s purview.
Marius Reitz, the Africa general manager of crypto trading platform Luno, told The Guardian that Nigeria’s ban has only made cryptocurrency trading harder to monitor