It’s been over a week since the Nigerian government restricted banks and crypto-trading platforms from engaging in crypto-related activities. Now, in tandem with the general public speculations, the country’s youths are beginning to re-strategize, with a response that is both bold and defiant. Timi Ajiboye, the CEO of Buycoins, one of the country’s leading crypto-trading platforms followed up the news with a message for users of the platform through an email. Part of which reads;
“I want to iterate again that we remain indefatigable in building the best possible experience for you to interface with the crypto world. It’s our responsibility and commitment to you. We will remain very transparent and honest with you about this situation.”
Although naira withdrawals have since been halted, users are to be notified in batches when the withdrawal feature is enabled, which is within the next 48hours, according to a pop-up notification from the app.
Nigerians choose Bitcoin over banks
The Nigerian government has been hostile towards cryptocurrencies over the past few years, but residents of the country, especially youths who either witnessed or took part in the EndSars protest (an ongoing movement initiated by the Nigerian youths to curb police brutality in the country) have asserted that the protest intensified the hostility from the government, after its plans to dismantle the protest with the shutdown of traditional bank accounts were made futile after Bitcoin was used as an alternative currency for transfers.
Contrary to the Nigerian government implying that Bitcoin is responsible for the increased rate of cybercrime in Nigeria, new research has shown that “More money is laundered annually in Nigeria alone than total crypto used for bad things globally.”
The CEO of Buycoins responded to the above tweet saying “Government thief with Naira pass anything wey we fit do with crypto,” which, when translated from Nigerian pidgin means that the Nigerian government uses Naira to carry out money laundering more than youths use cryptocurrencies for illicit activities in the country.
Many Nigerian youths are still cautious of traditional banks in the country, especially after users’ accounts were shut down indefinitely, with no means of withdrawal of funds. Many of the youngsters in the country took to Twitter to reiterate that they will continue to choose Bitcoin as a means of storage, against existing banks, which have also been accused of tasking users with exorbitant fee charges.
Nigerians Look to P2P Exchanges
In the near term, peer-to-peer trading may be the only useful means of trading cryptocurrencies. Users may have to employ in-app communication on the amount of Bitcoin they want to sell and make fiat transfers to the receiving party.
While this process is more tedious, it may be the only option, for now, that is until a better solution is devised by the promising youths of Nigeria.