BUSINESS

Nigeria is getting its first-ever bitcoin ATM


Nigeria has the strongest economy in Africa and has always stood out as more or less financially stable compared to some neighbouring countries. As the technological revolution is blooming around the continent, the Nigerians also want to become a part of it. Especially the youth, that is taking increasingly bigger interests in all things tech, but specifically cryptocurrency.

There are a lot of perks to using the blockchain-based currency, but one of the most prominent ones is that it allows people who don’t have access to traditional banking services to finally make all their online transactions fast and safe.

The unbanked population is a huge problem all across Africa, and it covers people who do not have bank accounts, therefore they can’t access any of the traditional banking services. This is a huge reason why fintech is taking off all over the continent because these innovations are giving the chance to people who have been struggling to access these financial offers for years to finally be able to make these financial transactions.

Cryptocurrencies have made many industries much safer and customer friendly. The prime example of that would be online casinos which are now relying heavily on bitcoin games accepting popular cryptocurrencies to keep the players coming and to make their experience much more satisfying. With Casinos specifically, there are often precautions and doubts about the payment methods. When using blockchain the transparency and the efficiency take a lot of worrying out of the picture making the whole process of gambling just that much easier.

As access to internets becomes more mainstream across the country the demand for the cryptocurrencies and the curiosity across the nation about the growing blockchain-based platforms is growing as well. The need for fast, decentralized financial transactions is huge across the country and embracing cryptocurrencies might just be what helps make the financial situation in the country that much better. As the internet connection becomes mainstream the opportunities to purchase crypto are also becoming more accessible but there is still a lot to be done in this department.

Seeing the great interest of Nigeria towards these currencies there are now services that allow people to purchase cryptocurrencies via different payment methods. While there are options to pay in cash through P2P platforms or through regular bank transfers, which would work perfectly in countries that have good and inclusive banking systems, sadly that is not the reality that most Nigerian are experiencing. Access to the internet is crucial for these transactions but there are other factors that play into it too. Apart from the safety concerns that surround cash exchanges with different tellers, there is also a huge problem with access to bank accounts. 

Around 100 million people in Nigeria remain unbanked, meaning that even if they have access to the internet they can not purchase bitcoin in the traditional way. This is a huge reason why Nigeria embraced the idea of a bitcoin ATM, where people can just put in the cash and buy crypto then and there. The BATM  was deployed by a company called Dazey Lounge & Bar and takes into consideration the security concerns that are very present in Nigeria. Even though the atm itself was designed in China by Blockstale, it takes into consideration the local situation in Nigeria and has an Africa-focused design. The BATM has an alarm system,  bio scanners, and an alarm system to increase the security of the service and it looks like Lagos will be seeing 5 more of these machines by the end of the year. The company is also considering introducing a mobile top-up feature that would allow the users to make their payments through their phones. 

Another popular way for Nigerians to get access to bitcoin is through gift cards given out by the teller machines. Even though this particular method does suit the existing situation in the country quite well, it is still not available in many districts and there are only a couple of tellers operating in Nigeria right now. On top of that gift cards can be quite limiting and might soon become too much of a hassle for the bitcoin lovers to use.

The fact of the matter is that the interest and the need for these services is growing across the country and inserting an ATM that is adapted to the current situation in the country and offers the services that are still largely unavailable across the majority of the country seem like the correct move for Nigeria.

Many industries could actually benefit from the introduction of this payment method and it could make the lives of millions of Nigerian easier. As mentioned above, the plan is to increase the amount of BATMs across the country and to create more opportunities for those with no bank accounts to use cryptocurrency as their main payment method and enjoy fast and secure transactions without any problems. 

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I write about tech, business and African startups. Founder and Editor For TechTrendsKE. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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