The price of one Bitcoin (BTC) has skyrocketed to the equivalent of $38,000 in Nigeria's local currency, the naira.
Bitcoin premium reaches 60% in Nigeria as the country restricts ATM cash withdrawals
Nigeria's central bank has been trying to push its citizens toward using digital currency, which has caused the price of Bitcoin (BTC) to soar to levels far above those of the global market.
At the time of writing, 1 BTC costs 17.8 million nairas ($38,792) on the Nigerian cryptocurrency exchange NairaEX. The price of Bitcoin on the market right now, which is about $23,700 as of this writing, represents a premium of more than 60%.
The Central Bank of Nigeria continues to enforce restrictions on ATM cash withdrawals. This is part of ongoing efforts to hasten the country's transition to a cashless society,
Due to a December announcement, the central bank restricted cash withdrawals earlier this month.
As of January 9, residents are only permitted to withdraw a maximum of 20,000 nairas (roughly $43.50) per day and 100,000 nairas (about $217) per week from cash machines.
The action was taken just days before new naira banknotes, intended to combat inflation and money laundering, went into circulation. Nigerians have until January 24 to exchange their old, higher denomination bank notes for new money, per the central bank's deadline.
Long lines and complaints that there needed to be more time to meet the deadline were present, though. So, according to a January 29 BBC report, the central bank has extended that deadline to February 10.
The price of Bitcoin has increased frequently in Nigeria in the past. However, the BTC premium reached 36% in February 2021 after the central bank forbade regulated financial institutions from offering services to cryptocurrency exchanges nationwide.
According to Google Trends, Nigeria has overtaken the United States as the top country for Bitcoin web searches due to the recent interest in the currency.
In addition, Reuters reported on January 26 that the Central Bank of Nigeria had introduced a domestic card program to compete with international cards like Mastercard and Visa.
The "AfriGo" card program was developed to give Nigerians easier access to bank card services while avoiding their country's notoriously high foreign card fees and exchange rates.
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