As part of its expansion into new territories, cryptocurrency exchange Binance has announced an initiative to capture a section of the African market.
The Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange opened up fiat deposits for Nigerians on October 24, 2019, in conjunction with the Nigerian payment gateway Flutterwave. This means users in Nigeria can now use the country’s fiat currency, the naira (NGN), to purchase bitcoin (BTC) along with Binance’s dollar-backed stablecoin (BUSD) and Binance coin (BNB). The naira will also be supported as a trading pair on the exchange, allowing users to trade with BUSD/NGN, BNB/NGN and BTC/NGN.
This is the first fiat trading pair on Binance, according to CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao.
Speaking on the integration, CZ called the decision a positive move for everyone involved as it will provide an opportunity to tap into the African cryptocurrency market and give that market better access to cryptocurrencies.
“In Sub-Saharan Africa, about 95 million people remain unbanked while many regions in the area, including Nigeria, have embraced new technologies with an increasing amount of innovation,” he said in a statement, as reported by Coinspeaker. “Working with Flutterwave will help bridge the fiat-to-crypto currency gap, and we hope to stimulate more financial inclusion as Africa demonstrates strong potential in leading crypto adoption.”
At the outset, Binance will waive the fees on deposits for new users who make naira deposits into their Binance wallets through Flutterwave. To be eligible for this promotion, Nigerian users have to make deposits of up to 36,000 NGN (about $100) starting from October 24, 2019. The exchange has also set aside $10,000 worth of NGN to give to newly registered users around the world.
At the end of the promotion, Nigerians will have to pay 1.4 percent of the total amount deposited as fees. The maximum amount allowed per deposit is pegged at 430,000 NGN (about $1,190), while the minimum deposit per transaction is 10 NGN ($0.5).
Bringing Cryptocurrency to More Nigerians
“… if cryptocurrencies can provide a more secure and cheaper means of exchanging value than the existing system, it will be used.”
Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily traded volumes, and the decision to support naira deposits could get more Africans adopting cryptocurrency. Nigeria is already a curious country where cryptocurrency is concerned.
The country often ranks as the top spot for bitcoin keyword searches and is believed to be one of the largest cryptocurrency markets in Africa. In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine from September 25, 2019, Owenize Odia, the country manager for Binance competitor Luno Nigeria, theorized about the growing interest around bitcoin in Nigeria. He explained that the country is filled with millions of tech-savvy people who now see money as a “must have.”
“… if cryptocurrencies can provide a more secure and cheaper means of exchanging value than the existing system, it will be used,” he said.
Now that the country’s official currency has been added as a trading option on the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Nigerian cryptocurrency enthusiasts will have easier trading opportunities.
Jimmy has been following the development of blockchain for several years, and he is optimistic about its potential to democratize the financial system.