Nigerian crypto exchange Roqqu was granted a virtual currency license for the European Economic Area after two years of waiting for permission from regulatory authorities. The move allows the firm to operate in 30 countries and broaden its services within one of the world’s largest crypto markets.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, the company said that it seeks to attract early traders looking to gain an edge in the crypto space by offering competitive fees and a better experience for newcomers.
With the expansion, Roqqu hopes to reach over 5 million users in 2023, up from 1.4 million users in Nigeria — the only country in which the exchange operated until the license was granted. Among the African countries where the exchange plans to provide services in the coming months are South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
Africans living abroad have sent over $5 billion yearly to relatives back home, Roqqu CEO Benjamin Onomor told Cointelegraph. In some cases, remittances can take days before reaching their destination. Onomor said:
“It makes a lot of sense to solve this problem by using crypto as the vehicle. Crypto is a faster and cheaper route that can bridge the gap and help reduce fees in moving money globally. This is the core of the problem we want to solve.”
Over the years, cryptocurrency adoption has grown in Africa. According to data from Chainalysis, the Middle East and North Africa region is the fastest growing in the world, with users receiving $566 billion in cryptocurrencies between July 2021 and June 2022, a 48% increase compared to the previous year.
Related: Nigeria revisits its payments landscape amid sluggish eNaira adoption
“It went from being perceived as a scam or another form of Ponzi scheme to one of the most sought-after asset classes in Africa," Onomor commented about the industry evolution in Africa.
The challenges faced by the crypto community in the region include “lack of access to good internet or even any form of internet in general, low financial literacy and a lack of technical know-how," said Onomor. For crypto startups, a lack of software management tools and unclear regulatory guidelines are major obstacles. Onomor also noted:
“One of the most beautiful things about the crypto industry is that it’s a world of endless opportunities. With every challenge faced, crypto startups find a way to innovate around it.”
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and one of the region’s most prominent crypto hubs. As reported by Cointelegraph, Nigeria’s first Bitcoin Lightning Network node was recently launched, strengthening the continent’s connection to Bitcoin’s layer-2 payments network. Its central bank is also examining the adoption of blockchain technology to power a central bank digital currency.