By Charlene Fadirepo
Nigeria’s place in the evolving Bitcoin narrative has been a side story at best until recently. With a total population of over 200 million people, a young tech savvy workforce, and Bitcoin trading volumes on par with Western countries, Nigeria is experiencing an amazing Bitcoin Revolution. Yet Western Bitcoin conversations on social media platforms usually discussed Nigeria as an afterthought –despite data to suggest otherwise. In 2020 Nigeria was ranked among the top two countries in the world for peer to peer Bitcoin trading volume on Paxful, at $566 Million second only to the United States ($3.7 Trillion).
In recent years, Nigeria has experienced the perfect storm of political, civil, economic and social challenges that have illuminated the need for a better, more efficient system of money. One such challenge is Nigeria’s food and general product inflation rates which have ballooned to nearly 20%. In other Bitcoin friendly countries like El Salvador, the government has stepped in to address widespread economic pain. But in Nigeria, everyday people have answered the call and have proven Bitcoin's most elegant use case of all —-an inclusive censorship resistant financial system designed specifically for the people in the world that are experiencing the most economic pain.
In August 2021, I shared the tweet about Nigeria's incredible Bitcoin activity largely out of frustration. I was frustrated by the short-sighted price focused Western view of Bitcoin and disappointed that Nigeria’s Bitcoin revolution was not being celebrated like other international Bitcoin countries. In Nigeria, Bitcoin protects human rights, provides currency stability, enables cheaper more efficient remittances, enables commerce within and between African countries and gives individual Nigerians ownership and agency over their financial lives. Yet if you listened to many Bitcoin podcasts or even mainstream media in the United States the financial freedom and human rights aspects of Bitcoin would be missed.
My tweet caught the attention of Jack Dorsey, CEO of Block, who re-tweeted it and it immediately went viral. The tweet had 836,000 impressions from all over the world in one day. It was an incredible situation --but mostly because it gave me hope. Surely the viral nature of this tweet was an indication of the level of the world’s interest in stories about Bitcoin adoption across Africa. Ultimately this tweet helped to plant the seed –and provide the push I needed to create the Bitcoin In Nigeria podcast. This tweet proved that the Bitcoin In Africa Show would be planted in rich fertile ground.