By Katharina Buchholz
Reliance on remittances and the prevalence of peer-to-peer phone payments have led to a steep rise of cryptocurrency use in Africa’s largest economy. Out of 74 countries in the Statista Global Consumer Survey, Nigerians were the most likely to say they used or owned cryptocurrency.
Almost a third of Nigerians said this applied to them. The high cost of sending money across borders the conventional way has caused many to turn to local cryptocurrency exchanges catering to overseas workers and their families, according to Bitcoin.com. Nigerians also often use their phones to send money to each other or to pay in shops. Recently, businesses in the country have been adding crypto plugins to their phone payment options, adding another way in which Nigerians can use cryptocurrency in their everyday lives.
The second and third highest rates of cryptocurrency use in the survey were recorded in Vietnam and the Philippines, respectively. Again, remittance payments play a role in the widespread use of cryptocurrency. According to bitcoin.com, the Philippines’ Central Bank has approved several crypto exchanges to operate as “remittance and transfer companies” in the country. The government itself is already meddling in cryptocurrency by setting up blockchain app bonds.ph with Unionbank to distribute government bonds. Unionbank has also installed a Bitcoin ATM in Makati (Metro Manila), showing how cryptocurrencies are slowly entering the mainstream in the country.