Nigeria has topped the list of African countries with the highest number of cryptocurrency holders.
This report was compiled by Triple-A, a platform that provides blockchain technology and cryptocurrency solutions.
According to the report, no fewer than 13 million Nigerians hold crypto assets in the country despite the regulations of the industry by the government.
Other countries named on the list included Kenya, with an estimated 4.5 million cryptocurrency holders, South Africa with over 4.2 million cryptocurrency holders as well as Egypt, which has 1.7 million crypto holders.
This is in addition to Ethiopia, which despite the recent ban of cryptocurrency in the country is estimated to have 1.1million crypto holders.
Cryptocurrency has since gained ground in Nigeria, despite the regulation of the industry by the Nigerian government.
Earlier this month, a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency platform in Nigeria, Paxful had reported an N77.75bn ($185m) worth of Bitcoin trading in the country in the first three months of 2022.
This, according to Paxful, is a 5.71 percent increase from the amount traded in 2021.
In the report, Paxful identified Nigeria as its largest cryptocurrency trading country last year with 16,000 daily trades made.
Similarly, a cryptocurrency exchange firm, KuCoin reported that Nigeria currently has over 33 million traders and crypto holders.
These statistics are no doubt an indication of how well or not, in this case, the regulation of the industry by the Nigerian government is doing.
Already, stakeholders in the industry have raised demands as to why the government needs to review its regulation.
Stakeholders, especially in the Blockchain Technology industry have made their arguments severally, on Nigeria benefitting from the gains associated with cryptocurrencies.
It is also important to note that the stakeholders are calling on the Government to allow the cryptocurrency industry to strive, not to overrun Nigeria’s legal tender, the Naira.
“Bitcoin can be recognized as a currency of payment but not a legal tender. Although it might become possible for you to use BTC to make transactions that are valid in the eyes of the law, this is not something I see happening anytime soon because it is very clear that the central bank does not want the infiltration of unregulated kinds of payment instrument in Nigeria.” said the
Coordinator of the Blockchain Nigeria User Group, Chimezie Chuta in an interview with Punch.
Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a guideline to guide players in the industry.
SEC had also classified cryptocurrencies as digital assets, thereby creating a conflict between its guidelines and the ban already put in place by the CBN.
The 54-page document titled ‘New Rules on Issuance, Offering Platforms, and Custody of Digital Assets Had come heavily under criticism, with experts tagging the requirements outlined as a subtle way of hindering the adoption of crypto in the country.
Nigeria’s Apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, is still yet to respond to SEC’s guidelines.
But CBN’s silence has since been translated to the fact that it remains on its earlier stance of declaring crypto transactions illegal.
It is also important to note that banks all over the country, have since classified crypto transactions as prohibited, given a directive by the CBN, directing any account trading in cryptocurrency in the country to be blocked.