“The people of Nigeria will lead Bitcoin”- Jack Dorsey, 2021
Jack Dorsey, former Twitter boss and the CEO of Square Inc. [an American financial services and digital payments company] in December announced that three Nigerians and a South African will lead the BTrust Fund.
Funded with a 500 Bitcoin capital base worth N10,014,265,775.40 ($24,426,230) by Dorsey and Hip-Hop star, Jay Z, BTrust is an endowment fund geared towards the development of bitcoin in Africa and India.
“They’ll now work towards defining the operating principles as they think about how to best distribute the 500 Bitcoins towards development efforts”, Dorsey tweeted.
Crackdown on Cryptocurrency in Africa and India.
Bitcoin is facing a crackdown in Africa and India. Last February, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) barred local banks from working with cryptocurrencies, stating “severe regulatory sanctions” and freezing accounts of firms it says are using them — this threat was actualised when the apex bank secured a court order to freeze the accounts of fintech companies in the Country.
Prior to the ban, Nigeria was ranked the top country to search for Bitcoin on Google and had the world’s second-largest Bitcoin trading volume. Nigerians are reported to have traded 60,215 Bitcoins, or more than $566 million in the last five years.
Meanwhile, in India, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has launched a department to create regulations for cryptocurrency and its upcoming central bank digital currency (CBDC), says a report by Coindesk.
What’s the Future of Crypto in Nigeria?
Nigeria has been ranked as the leading country per capita for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption in the world according to a report by Statista. Nigeria is also ranking high on Chainanalysis index, due to huge transaction volumes on peer-peer platforms.
Nigeria is rapidly climbing the crescendo and so far the only thing that has tried to cripple it is the government ban. And Nigerian crypto traders have gone past that hurdle with peer to peer transactions.
Yet again the point is that Nigerians put all their hands on deck when it came to cryptocurrency and the whole world cannot deny the obvious. It’s no wonder why Nigeria is at the top of the crescendo when it comes to cryptocurrency.
Something is definitely brewing this year and there’s a lot of expectation and resilience in the minds of crypto traders in the country. 2021 came with setbacks for crypto traders but the sudden turn of events has made 2022 a year to look forward to.
In September 2021, Qala Fellowship received a 0.5BTC grant from the New York-based Human Rights Foundation (HRF) to train Bitcoin developers in Africa on how to build on Bitcoin and lightning network technology. With the purpose of developing bitcoin and making crypto trading more private, decentralised and resilient.
In his open letter to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari last year, Russel Okung, a Bitcoin advocate said “it is no secret that the current global economic environment is worrisome and unsustainable. Sadly, the fate of the Nigerian economy is in the hands of global central bankers who do not represent the best interests of the Nigerian people”
“Despite the challenges we face, the resilience of Nigerians continues to inspire. The Nigerian society enjoys more favourable conditions than many of its neighbours. However, even greater opportunity awaits with the adoption of national action in favour of a Bitcoin standard”, he added.
A scene at the 2021 Technext Coinference — a gathering of enthusiasts, professionals and regulators to discuss cryptocurrency showed that despite the ban, Nigeria is still interested in these decentralised currencies.
In his keynote address, the nation’s Minister of State for Budget & National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba said that “the blockchain technology gives room for digital assets to be authenticated without the need for third-party verification. A practice that will benefit not only citizens but also all levels of government. The extravagant costs of setting up specific MDA’s and committees for resolving asset-related disputes can be largely reduced and cases can be speedily resolved without committing tremendous government resources.”
Agba also disclosed that ‘’Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission are currently in discussions with CBN to enable better understanding and regulation of the crypto space. Nevertheless, it is also possible that our laws as they are today cannot explicitly stipulate who holds the power to regulate cryptocurrencies; maybe there is a need for an additional body to play this role”
Meet the Nigerians appointed at BTrust’s Board.
- Abubakar Nur Khalil is a bitcoin core contributor and had received $50,000 in BTC for his work on Bitcoin wallet software from Human Rights Foundation (HRF) in May 2021 — he is one of the co-founders at Qala Fellowship.
- Obi Nwosu is a Co-founder at Coinfloor, a seed-level cryptocurrency startup, which has raised $300,000 in a funding round.
- Ojoma Ochai is a Managing Partner at CcHUBCreative (Co-Creation Hub), a technology innovation workspace, accelerating startup growth in Nigeria and selected part in Africa – CcHUB has raised $5.5 million to aid its operation.
What is Bitcoin? [as defined by the Guardian]
We wanted to omit this section, but after another thought, we do not want to make costly assumptions. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency, created in 2009, and remains the most widely known and valued. It’s a digital or virtual asset, operating outside of the traditional banking system, and its influence has soared, with a growing number of companies now accepting it for payments.
Each bitcoin is essentially a digital token containing a secret key that proves to anyone in the network to whom it belongs. Effectively, each bitcoin is a collective agreement of every other computer on the bitcoin network that the token is real, created by a bitcoin “miner”, and then acquired through a series of legitimate transactions.
Anytime bitcoins are spent, it becomes known to the entire network that their ownership has been transferred. Every transaction is stored in a lasting public record called a blockchain, which underpins the entire system, making it possible to trace a coin’s history and preventing people from spending coins they do not own.
[Additional reporting by Johnstone Kpilaakaa]