Crypto Expert: Nigeria's P2P Trading Hits $500bn

Ray Youssef, CEO of the prominent Nigerian cryptocurrency platform NoOnes, disclosed in an interview with Techpoint Africa that peer-to-peer (P2P) trading in Nigeria has reached staggering figures, potentially around $500 billion, amidst looming regulatory actions against cryptocurrency in the country.

Youssef emphasized the significant volume of P2P transactions, which he believes are vastly underrepresented in official figures. He stated that while the recorded cryptocurrency volume in Nigeria stands at $59 to $60 billion annually, the true P2P volume exceeds this by tenfold, primarily occurring through informal channels like WhatsApp, Telegram, and local coffee shops.

Nigeria’s cryptocurrency landscape has been fraught with regulatory challenges, including a previous ban by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on cryptocurrency transactions within the banking system. However, this ban was later overturned, allowing banks and other financial institutions to provide cryptocurrency services under-regulated guidelines.

The aftermath of regulatory actions revealed concerns about crypto traders using P2P trading to manipulate the Nigerian naira through pump-and-dump schemes. CBN Governor Olayemi Cardoso cited $26 billion in untraceable transactions processed by the global exchange Binance, prompting a crackdown on the platform and freezing of numerous bank accounts involved in P2P transactions.

Despite the regulatory uncertainties and crackdowns, many Nigerians, particularly P2P traders, oppose government interventions in the cryptocurrency space. They argue that cryptocurrency should be legal and not blamed for the depreciation of the naira. Economist Kalu Aja highlighted the economic challenges facing Nigeria, including contracting economic activity, rising inflation rates, and dwindling investor confidence, underscoring the urgent need for policy reforms and sustainable economic strategies.

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