The prediction by Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey that Africa “will define” the future of cryptocurrencies, may soon be finding fulfilment.
Right after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) began to freeze bank accounts of the #EndSARS protest leaders, contributors and service providers; the Feminist Coalition (FemCo) quickly resolved that contributions should now be sent to their bitcoin address only. It was around this time that a spike in the usage and adoption of bitcoin for payments and transactions was reported to have spiked.
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Jack Dorsey proceeded to share the Bitcoin address of FemCo on his profile for potential funders of the #EndSARS movement to be aware of the alternative crowdfunding channel. An automatic donation link powered by a Nigerian Fintech company, Flutterwave, was reported to have been disabled from the banking regulator’s backend. This simple action almost crippled the smooth flow of organising the #EndSARS protests across the country as the funds which were to be used for mobilisation remained inaccessible.
This eventuality may just have been coincidental but that the renewed adoption helped a spike in trade volume and a rise in the value of Bitcoin after the challenge posed by the CBN could very much have been the opportune moment which Jack Dorsey had predicted.
And the crux of this matter boils down to the issue of over-regulation and how it induces renegade innovation in an economy. The clampdown on the free usage of the Nigerian Naira pushing users to further adopt cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin must have been an unintended consequence. The more the CBN is looking to over-regulate the flow of the Naira, as well as limit access to the procurement of dollars, the more cryptocurrencies rise and the value of the dollar climbs against the Naira.
Buchi Okoro, CEO of Quidax Exchange (an exchange dealing in cryptocurrencies), said that the government has inadvertently pushed Nigerians towards cryptocurrencies by trying to block standard banking channels.
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He added that “We’ve seen this happen before, governments tried to control everything, and the people reacted by finding a route where no one can hold sway. This time around, it’s for a good cause,”
The advantage being enjoyed by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for such guerilla purposes is in the anonymity of the contributors and the beneficiaries of funds for a sensitive movement as #EndSARS. Also, owing to the fact that major and popular faces who were instrumental to the success of the brief #EndSARS protest became targets after the protests had ended is enough motivation for anyone to protect their self and interests with the shroud of funding which Bitcoin provides.
Now that the case has been made for further Bitcoin adoption in Nigeria, the government/regulators may just have jeopardized an opportunity to regulate protest finance because of its over-sensitivity from the onset. All fingers now point to the fact that, in the near future, when an agitation similar to the #EndSARS protests is being planned and mobilised, Nigerians may just begin to look to powering such initiative through the use of Bitcoin.
Featured Image Source: Bitcoin News
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