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Paxful Eyes more Cryptocurrency Trades Despite CBN Ban

Paxful, a cryptocurrency trading platform, says it expects 23 per cent more crypto traders from Nigeria on its platform than what it recorded in 2020.

The company told our correspondent that it was on track to have 36 per cent more bank transfer volume on its platform than it had last year.

Paxful is a peer-to-peer finance platform for people to make payments, transactions, and send money by buying and selling cryptocurrencies as a means of exchange.

Last month, the company described Nigeria as its biggest cryptocurrency market, with a volume worth $1.5bn, with over 1.5 million users.

The Chief Executive Officer, Paxful, Ray Youssef, had said, “We’re on track for an over 20 per cent increase in volume this year. We are seeing growth in all our markets and especially among groups or in countries where there’s a real need for cryptocurrencies: where the traditional financial system is failing people, whether that’s because of extreme volatility, strict capital controls, or high transaction costs.

“People are looking for freedom from these constraints and find that in cryptocurrencies. So, there’s a real increase in people using cryptocurrencies for their original purpose – as currencies and not just as a speculative asset.”

Nigerians traded $566m worth of bitcoin between 2015 and 2020, making the country the second largest peer-to-peer bitcoin market after the United States, according to news.bitcoin.com.

In a circular released in early February 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a ban on cryptocurrency trading, directing banks to identify accounts of traders and block them. This elicited various reactions from Nigerians.

A crypto trader, Victor Okolie, told our correspondent that the industry had been growing stronger and gaining more attention from Nigerians.

“People are looking for ways to gain from what I called ‘the 21st-century goldmine’, which is open to anyone who is ready to mine from it,” he added.

When asked about how the CBN ban had affected the crypto industry, another trader, Oluwakorede Abiodun, said, “I think the industry has performed better than before in Nigeria. Most of our transactions were made through the peer-to-peer network instead of buying crypto through bank cards (which would have attracted a closure of such bank accounts).

“So many of us saw good opportunities in peer-to-peer transactions; it’s economical too because there are no bank charges and all sorts of bank delays and network issues. The ban on crypto is for banks and financial institutions, not for us individuals. What we do with our money is our personal business.”

The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, had said, “Cryptocurrency is not legitimate money because it is not created or backed by any central bank.

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