The ongoing crypto winter is not stopping the industry from pushing for global adoption and accessibility. A new partnership between CoinCorner and Bitnob allows users across continents to perform cross-border transactions involving multiple fiat currencies.
Fund transfer between Europe and Africa typically requires a third-party facilitator like Western Union, which relies on centralized entities. These transactions often require multiple parties' approval, increasing processing times and fees. The World Bank estimates that remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa were over $40 billion yearly as of 2020, with Nigeria receiving almost half of the sum.
Now, users can transfer funds via the Bitcoin Lightning Network from the United Kingdom and Europe to select African countries. The application, Send Globally, allows British pounds or euros to be converted to Nigeria nairas, Kenyan shillings and Ghanaian cedis.
The Lightning Network first converts funds to Bitcoin (BTC), then to the local currency of the receiving country, and deposits the funds straight into the receiver's bank account or mobile money wallet.
Danny Scott, the CEO of CoinCorner, said the remittance market is a big opportunity to highlight the utility of BTC.
“The borderless nature of Bitcoin has always made it a great tool for sending money around the world, but now with the Lightning Network, sending Bitcoin is instant and very low cost.”
In 2021, data from Statista placed Nigeria in the top 10 countries for remittance payments. Additionally, the World Bank reported that in the last year, Sub-Saharan Africa made up 14.1% of global remittances.
However, nearly 80% of African countries restrict the type of institutions that can offer local banks remittance-related services. Such exclusivity creates barriers to entry for the people who need it most.
Related: Remittances drive ‘uneven, but swift’ crypto adoption in Latin America
The prevalence of cryptocurrencies in Africa has been a hot topic in the space, as the continent is rife with emerging economies and practical use cases.
A recent report from Chainalysis revealed the Middle East and North Africa region to be the fastest growing worldwide.
In September, the Nigerian government held meetings with Binance to negotiate a special economic zone to support the region’s crypto and blockchain-related businesses.
A later report from Chainalysis also highlighted Ghana’s prominence in crypto. It said the country could catch up to Nigeria and Kenya in crypto adoption.