Cointelegraph spoke with Adelola Sokoya, the founder of Swift eCurrency, a virtual currency exchange based in Lagos, Nigeria, about various aspects of the virtual currency market in Nigeria. The virtual currency market in Nigeria is still evolving. It is relatively well-organised, not regulated by the government, and has a huge potential for the whole of Africa.
Awareness takes root
Lola started by describing Swift eCurrency as a company that simply buys and sells virtual currencies, including perfect money, Bitcoin, Neteller, PayPal, and Stp. He says that this is the major activity of swiftecurrency.com.
He also said that the Nigerian virtual currency market has come a long way since the days of egold, e-bullion, liberty reserve etc, but that there is still a lot of room for improvement and acceptability of virtual currency within the country. He believes the low level of proper internet education within the region is behind the lack of adoption. In his words:
“A lot of people around here still see the internet like a playground, where people meet to socialize or while away time after their ‘jobs’ and ‘businesses’, while a whole lot of others still believe that any money-related venture that is internet-based must posses an element of scam. And this comes off the backdrop of the negative reputation that had been built over time during the reign of the ‘advance fee fraud’ which was prevalent within the region. Nevertheless, the proper awareness is gradually taking grounds.”
No government in virtual currencies
Asked about the government’s position on virtual currencies, Lola said government presence in regard to virtual currencies is almost non-existent. He said that, at the moment, there is no form of regulation of virtual currencies by the Nigerian government simply because the majority of those in the position of policy making belong to the older generation who tend to be largely oblivious to recent developments across the internet world.
Lola went on to affirm the existence of a reasonable number of exchanges that have decided to come together under an umbrella known as the ‘Digital Currency Exchange Association of Nigeria’ (DCEAN).
The association is said to have an executive council, and hold regular physical meetings every quarter of the year, while sustaining a steady online forum through social media.
Internationally, Lola said that Swift eCurrency deals directly with certain international exchanges, including rchange.net, neteller.com, and cex.io, mainly for the purpose of purchasing these virtual currencies for onward retailing to their locality.
Lola insists that the Nigerian virtual currency market is highly untapped and possesses a lot of potential. He said that, according to a recent survey by premiumtimesng.com, Nigeria has by far the highest number of internet users in Africa. He also said that Facebook records that Nigerians make up the biggest group of people on the platform within the continent of Africa.
He concluded by saying:
“The truth is that as long as we have people using the Internet, there will always be need to make payments. The Internet has gone beyond just a technology and has turned the world into a community and as such users will always need a form of virtual currency to make payments.”