Central Bank Embargo Ushers In Sudden Bitcoin Awareness In Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria has banned the use of Naira denominated ATM cards abroad. Could this mean an explosion for the Bitcoin market in the country?

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Central Bank Embargo Ushers In Sudden Bitcoin Awareness In Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria has banned the use of Naira denominated ATM cards abroad. Could this mean an explosion for the Bitcoin market in the country?

In a circular passed to all commercial banks within the country on Monday  December 21 2015, the CBN ordered commercial banks to stop customers from using their debit and credit cards outside the country, a directive which takes effect from January 1 2016 in a move which the CBN Governor says will stem the flow of foreign currency out of the country.

Nigerian cards are being rejected already

Foreign online retailers have already started rejecting cards issued by Nigerian banks as there have been complaints by citizens who have tried to make purchases but have been turned down.

Hetty Hembadoon Orkuma is a bookseller and the CEO of Coffee Coloured Books, a bookstore located within the heart of the Federal Capital Territory. When asked about her experience, she was quick to reveal her frustration saying:

“Merchants are rejecting the Naira mastercard, so I can neither buy books nor pay for shipments. I have no choice but to wait and hope that I do not run out of stock before a solution is found.”

Increase in demand is obvious

Bitcoin exchangers within the country are already experiencing some difficulty in meeting with the demand for the cryptocurrency due to higher demand in recent times. Victor Yerima is the CEO of Africash International, an e-currency exchange outfit in Kaduna. Speaking on the impact of the recent ban by the CBN, Victor say:

“There is already a high demand in the market for Bitcoin that we the exchangers can hardly meet, I wonder what will happen after January 1 2016”.

It’s about time bitcoin explodes

Tony Fakah (MBA) is the Head of Data Network Planning and Design at Phase3 Telecom, Africa’s leading independent aerial fibre optic network infrastructure and telecommunications services provider he is also an investor in Bitcoins.

About the embargo being placed on Naira denominated cards, he summarises by saying:

“Good opportunity for bitcoin to go mainstream in these parts. With immediate effect.”

Tony Fakah,  the Head of Phase3 Telecom

It is a coin with two faces

Geoffrey Weli Wosu is the Co-Founder of Voguepay, a company that provides its users with an avenue to receive and make payments through their bank accounts as well as debit and credit cards (MasterCard, VisaCard, Etranzact Cards and Verve Cards).

Geoffrey in his analysis views the issue from two sides, saying it could have both a positive and a negative consequence. On a peripheral view, he says it will be a great move for Bitcoiners, assuming there is already a reasonable amount of bitcoin in circulation within the Nigerian market. According to him:

“It will make bitcoin the hottest thing to have your hands on in Nigeria. The policy ushers Bitcoin traders an opportunity to think even deeper, and provide the solution to meet their customers demand.”

Flipping the coin, Mr. Wosu didn’t hold back from saying it may also be a bad development:

“The ban could also be sad news for bitcoiners since there are not so many miners within the Nigerian market and earning will become the only available option since those who need the currency may not be able to pay for it internationally.”

Clearly, one thing that seems obvious is the fact that awareness shall increase within the Nigerian Bitcoin environment.

Geoffrey Weli Wosu, Co-Founder of Voguepay


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