Bitcoin’s price in Nigeria has exponentially risen beyond its global market levels as the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) promotes digitalized cash. At the time of writing, the cost for one Bitcoin is 17.6 million Naira on the Nigerian crypto exchange NairaEX or $38,219. Bitcoin is trading at a market price of around $23,200 — significantly lower than the 60% premium offered in Nigeria. As Nigeria works to transition towards a cashless policy, the CBN has limited ATM withdrawals.
On January 9, the CBN put a cap on cash withdrawals, restricting citizens to withdrawing 20,000 Naira (approximately $43.50) per day and 100,000 Naira ($217) each week— this limit follows an announcement made in December.
Days before the new Naira banknotes were released to reduce inflation and money laundering, Nigerians had little time to exchange their old Naira notes by the January 24 deadline. Despite this short deadline, many Nigerians found themselves waiting in long lines, hoping they could make it in time. Fortunately, due to the complaints and inconvenience caused by the short deadline, the CBN extended the due date until February 10.
Unsurprisingly, this is not the first time that Bitcoin sells beyond its global market levels in the country. On February 2021, the CBN prohibited regulated financial institutions from providing services to cryptocurrency exchanges within the country, ultimately causing the BTC premium to skyrocket to 36%.
Nigeria is currently leading the way in Bitcoin web searches, as indicated by Google Trends data, reflecting a surge of interest in the cryptocurrency.
On January 26, the CBN launched a domestic card scheme known as “AfriGo” to compete with international cards such as Mastercard and Visa. The new initiative was created to grant Nigerians more affordable access to bank card services while avoiding foreign transaction charges and exchange costs.