Nigerians still ignore their government
This past winter, we wrote about crypto in Nigeria a great deal. For good reason. The country is crazy for crypto. It sees the highest volume of trading in Africa and it is among the strongest markets for it in the world.
Despite that, its government has tried to make it as difficult as possible for citizens to trade in the space. In fact, they made it illegal for banks to deal with merchants who were actively exchanging crypto for the local fiat currency, the Naira.
There is no logical reason for this. The Naira is basically worthless, a hyperinflated mess that has been devalued twice in recent memory and is trading at $0.0024 per $1 USD at the time of writing.
The problems with the Naira is what crypto can protect people from. Yes, Bitcoin and others have had a bit of an up and down year so far, but no one has woken up to find their entire savings wiped out by a bureaucrat’s decision to cut the value in half overnight.
That’s legitimately happened to Nigerians, a people that have been consistently let down by the government for generations. A government that is now terrified of a young generation of educated people having financial stability.
It’s Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, right? If you can’t feed yourself you’re unlikely to seek self-fulfillment. If you can? Well, then you might just wake up and decide that politically defeating an incompetent and out-of-touch political class could be fun.
Nigerians, like any people living with this type of “leadership,” are resourceful. They have found ways around the government’s bans on crypto and are still trading in it as freely as possible. And increasingly, businesses and institutions in the country are also choosing to ignore the mandates and freely deal in crypto.
Yesterday, the New Oxford Science Academy, one of the leading education institutions in Nigeria’s Kano State, announced that it would be accepting crypto as tuition.
The owner justified the decision thusly: “We have decided to accept cryptocurrency as school fees because the world today is tilting towards the system. We believe one-day digital money will gain more acceptance than paper money. The decision is aimed at easing the payment of school fees for the parents.”
Basically, he realized that many of the parents had better and more predictable access to crypto assets than they do Naira. Further, that crypto was more useful to the school than money that’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.
People using crypto to educate the next generation. That’s got to be terrifying to the government.
You can anticipate that the government will probably try to push back on this at some level, but this is a fight that they are losing. Once exposed to the ideas and freedom of crypto, people aren’t going to suddenly forget and move on because a politician tells them to.
And, that’s a lesson politicians the world over should learn. Perhaps they could do so at the New Oxford Science Academy!