Nigerian money in a magnifying glass

Bitcoin trades higher in Nigeria amid cashless economy drive

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Bitcoin was trading at a premium in Nigerian cryptocurrency exchanges on Monday as the central bank continued its cashless society campaign which includes ATM withdrawal limits that took effect earlier this month.  

See related article: Weekly Market Wrap: Bitcoin rebounds above $23,000. Can it maintain momentum?

Fast facts

  • A single Bitcoin was selling for roughly 17.5 million Nigerian nairas (NGN), or around US$38,000, at local exchanges NairaEX and Quidax as of 10 p.m. on Monday, Hong Kong time.
  • That price is about 40% higher than the global average Bitcoin price of US$23,100, according to CoinMarketCap. Bitcoin was reportedly trading at an even higher premium earlier in the day. 
  • The Nigerian Bitcoin premium emerged after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently imposed domestic ATM cash withdrawal limits as part of its cashless economy drive. 
  • As per a December regulatory directive from the CBN, which has been effective since Jan. 9, citizens have been permitted to withdraw no more than 20,000 NGN from ATMs per day and up to 100,000 NGN per week.
  • The limits followed the CBN’s drive to replace existing bills with new and lower denomination banknotes. Nigerians had until Jan. 24 to swap for the new notes, but long queues and complaints about insufficient time led to a deadline extension to Feb. 10, the BBC reported.
  • In January, local media reported that the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets and Institutions plans to pass a law that recognizes digital currencies as investment capital. 
  • CBN prohibited financial institutions from facilitating crypto transactions in 2021, but blockchain analytics company Chainalysis rated the country as the top crypto adopter in Africa in its latest crypto adoption index.

See related article: World Economic Forum’s digital asset head expects real-world blockchain adoption in 2023



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