By Cynthia Ezekwe

Given the rapid pace of technological advancement, the cryptocurrency industry is constantly changing and adapting to new technologies, unlike fiat currency, which has led to an increase in the use of cryptocurrencies by many Nigerians, which which makes it the fourth largest cryptocurrency market in the world. .

This is according to a recent investigation by Coin Journal, a platform that provides news and information on digital currencies, established to determine the countries that have been most successful in the cryptocurrency industry considering factors such as the number of owners, the profits of cryptocurrencies and the number of companies. and commissioning.

The research findings revealed that Nigeria has the fourth largest number of cryptocurrency owners in the world, with over 22 million active cryptocurrency traders in the country, as of 2021, indicating that approximately 10.34 percent percent of the Nigerian population is involved in cryptocurrency.

According to the UK-based firm, the United States had the largest number of cryptocurrency owners, with more than 46 million active cryptocurrency traders. As of 2021, there was a total of 13.74% of the US population involved in crypto.

Vietnam ranked second for the highest number of cryptocurrency owners per country, with over 20 million active cryptocurrency traders as of 2021. There was also a higher percentage of the population involved in crypto than in the US, which is 20.27 percent.

Pakistan came in third with almost 26.5 million active traders in the country, though it had a lower percentage of the population involved in crypto than Vietnam and the US, which is 11.50 percent.

According to the report, millennials in Nigeria are constantly looking for a way out of the country’s economic crisis, and Bitcoin looks like a promising next step.

Prior to 2017, Bitcoin was initially viewed with skepticism and associated with ponzi schemes such as Bitconnect and Mavrodi Mudial Moneybox (MMM).

Over time, the negative aspects associated with Bitcoin have diminished as a result of the factors that promoted the use of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in Nigeria.

In 2016, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Commission (NDIC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) established a commission to look into Bitcoin after it became a hot topic following the shutdown of the MMM Ponzi scheme that was active in Nigeria. .

However, in January 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a warning that no company or entity involved with cryptocurrency is recognized or licensed and that there are no protections or insurance against cryptocurrency-related financial loss.

The CBN has issued instructions to banks to stay away from any form of transaction that involves the use of virtual currencies and to ensure that they have anti-money laundering regulations in place.

Following the main bank’s strict anti-crypto rules, in 2017 the CBN banned banks from facilitating cryptocurrency-related transactions, however this ban was not strictly enforced.

According to members of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s research department, the CBN and SEC restrictions are designed more as a means to educate the citizens of Nigeria about cryptocurrencies and make sure they understand that cryptocurrencies are not guaranteed by the state. unlike the CBN issued Naira.

A statement issued by the main bank on January 7, 2021 cited its need to protect the public from threats of unregulated activities that are potential areas of illegal operations, which led to the freezing of the bank accounts of some Nigerians who were involved in cryptocurrencies. activities.

Despite the freezing of bank accounts for cryptocurrency-related activities, many Nigerians have said that they will continue to use cryptocurrency as it serves as a better hedge of financial value and provides an avenue for peer-to-peer transactions as cryptocurrency is sent from the decentralized wallet from one person to another. This was further fueled by the fact that cryptocurrency is one of the fastest growing industries driving the global financial revolution, gaining interest from investors around the world to get involved in fintech, with companies numbering in the thousands. of millions of dollars who have easy access to business applications. .