According to data from Google Trends, Lagos, Nigeria is the number one city based on the volume of online searches for Bitcoin (BTC). This data indicates a high level of interest among the city’s approximately 21 million people but it has yet to equate to tangible adoption of the emerging trend of technology.
“Lagosians” who are aware of the existence of Bitcoin see the top-ranked cryptocurrency as a substitute for the United States dollar.
Payment companies like PayPal do not allow Nigerians to receive money transfers from abroad which is necessitated by the notoriety of internet fraudsters in the country while other companies that offer such services charge high.
This is making the city’s growing freelancing community turn toward cryptocurrency payments. Many of the youth in the city, having battled with underemployment or unemployment, have sought to try their hands outside the traditional working environment.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports that Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to above 23 percent in 2018. In a city like Lagos, many young university graduates can be seen making a living as freelancers, offering services from copywriting to website design and even computer programming.
Given that many of their clients are based abroad, there can be issues with receiving payment for the work done. However, with a BTC wallet and a plethora of local exchange services, these freelancers can receive payments easily from clients spread across the globe.
Apart from freelancers, business owners are also using Bitcoin, as well as other crypto-focused platforms, as substitutes for foreign currency and banks.
Victor Alagbe, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Blockchain Strategist at OneWattSolar, an energy startup looking to leverage blockchain technology in boosting renewable energy adoption across Africa, in a message to Cointelegraph, said:
“I see crypto taking up a strong position in the remittances space. It’s often cheaper, less stressful (in terms of documentation) and faster to send and receive crypto. Many younger folks in the diaspora are now leveraging crypto to send money back home. Some techies working remotely are also getting paid in crypto.”
Nigeria has over 100 million active internet subscriptions.