Nigerian art dealer Ebuka Joseph started using cryptocurrencies last year when business ground to a halt due to Covid-19. Now he is hooked even though the financial authorities disapprove.
“Crypto just allows me to transact freely and within minutes we are done with our transactions,” the 28-year-old said in an interview from a friend’s studio in Lagos where he displays his works.
Nigeria’s Central Bank barred local banks from working with cryptocurrencies in February, warning of “severe regulatory sanctions” and freezing accounts of firms it says are using them.
But Joseph’s appetite for crypto, like many in Nigeria — Africa’s biggest economy measured by GDP — has only increased.
A bit like the US Dollar is a fallback for high inflation currencies globally, cryptocurrencies are just as universally available and even easier to use. One has to wonder how long Central Banks will be able to clamp down on usage when the demand just grows from citizens every day. Many Central Banks are testing the waters, but I suspect it is actually in order to still control it so that tax offices can collect their cut. Imagine a world where anyone could buy from anyone else using a global currency, and no VAT or tax is being deducted from it.... Countries would surely collapse and entrepreneurs would flourish
Nigerians are turning to crypto for business, to protect their savings as the naira loses value, and to send payments abroad.