It has been nearly 11 days since the Central Bank of Nigeria banned all regulated financial institutions from providing cryptocurrency exchange services in the country. Amidst the risk of severe penalties, all banks and institutions have been directed to immediately close corporate accounts associated with cryptocurrencies.
In the wake of this controversial move, public interest in Bitcoin (BTC) in Nigeria continues to outpace other countries, according to the most recent data available from Google Trends and most obvious is the hefty 36% premium on the bitcoin price as of the time of writing, February 16th.
The premium translates to a price of $ 71,150 per Bitcoin, compared to the average spot market price of $ 51,314 calculated in the Cointelegraph Price Index. Moreover, it cannot be compared to the next five largest installments globally at present: 3.24% in South Africa, and between 1% and 3% in Argentina, Peru, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
As last week’s Cointelegraph analysis showed, the immediate effect of the central bank ban appears to have done little to appease what his author called “hyperbitcoinization” of the nation’s retail culture. Blockchain.com published a report in August 2020 revealing that Nigeria was the top performing country on its platform since April of that year. Google Trends at the time also reflected the country’s consistently top ranking in terms of global interest in Bitcoin searches.
Citing the consequences of the central bank ban, the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission halted a planned regulatory protection fund for crypto companies last week.
Nigerian Senator Sani Musa observed during a Senate plenary session on February 11th that Bitcoin posed a major threat to the national fiat currency, the naira, although other lawmakers opposed his argument in favor of cracking down on rogue actors using digital currencies, rather than blocking citizens. By doing “great business” and taking advantage of opportunities in the cryptocurrency industry.
Representatives of a cryptocurrency company in Nigeria declined to comment to Cointelegraph about the premium, citing the sensitive climate in the wake of Nigeria’s central bank banning banking services for crypto companies.