Patricia is hot — just ask Nigeria
Nigerians are awesome. I say this with full sincerity.
Despite having grown up in a country where you have to clarify what military coup you are talking about when discussing the political history of the nation, a young class of hard working and educated people are still out there hustling and trying to get ahead.
Motivated by the simple desire to be self-sufficient, young Nigerians have fought through corruption, indifference and stupidity from their so-called leaders and time and time again have found ways to just make things work.
As I’ve written about a few times in this space, the latest way that Nigerians are trying to overcome their own government is through the crypto economy.
Sick of 1/3 unemployment and constant inflation worries, Nigerians flocked to the crypto space. So much so that at the end of 2020 they were the second highest traders in Bitcoin, holding $566m USD in value. That’s only behind the United States.
As the largest country in Africa, it’s significant that they have bought in so greatly. Yes, from an investment perspective – the more Nigerians buying crypto the greeter the demand and the higher the price – but more importantly it’s a humanitarian gain.
Crypto give them hope.
So, of course, the government keeps trying to take away that hope. They do so through nuisance laws that prevent the open exchange of bitcoin into local fait, or by making it difficult for third party venders to operate.
Despite this ongoing effort, which started in January, Nigerians keep finding ways around it.
The latest phenomena is a Nigerian-owed FinTech company called Patricia.
The company, which had 185,244 active users, was created at the start of this year to fid a creative way around the problem of not being able to use crypto holding in a pragmatic way. Nigerians do not have the benefit of being able to “ride or die.” They need to be able to buy food with with their holdings.
What Patricia does is that it facilities the exchange of crypto for items that can then be openly used in the Nigerian marketplace. They aren’t directly trading money, so they are getting around the new rules.
Instead, Patricia users are able to use crypto to buy cell phone air time or gift cards. Additionally, there is a debit card available that acts as credit when used in the community.
It’s brilliance is in it’s simplicity. Unless the government bans gift cards, it’s hard to shut it down. The end users can exchange the crypto for pragmatic needs, while the company has the ability to convert the crypto out of country, something average users cannot easily do.
Will the government try to squash this too? Probably. They are trying to make the crypto community impotent and this goes against that goal.
But, it’s just more proof that the more they try and squeeze the less they are ably to get a grip on things. They’ll go on playing wack-a-mole for a while longer, but the strength of determination in the Nigerian people to overcome will continue to prevail.