Cryptocurrencies: Why Nigeria is a global leader in Bitcoin trade

Cryptocurrencies: Why Nigeria is a global leader in Bitcoin trade

More cryptocurrency trading goes on in Nigeria than almost anywhere else in the world, reflecting a loss of faith in more traditional forms of investment, as Ijeoma Ndukwe reports.

Tola Fadugbagbe recalls moving to Lagos from his small south-western town 10 years ago with dreams of brighter prospects.

Instead, the 34-year-old ended up in a series of odd jobs earning the minimum wage to survive – a typical story for many young Nigerians who are just trying to get by.

It was not until 2016 that online adverts for Bitcoin piqued his interest and he began his cryptocurrency journey.

“I started intensive research,” Mr Fadugbagbe told the BBC.

“I was spending hours every day watching videos on YouTube and reading articles about Bitcoin. I didn’t have much money so I started with $100 to $200.”

It was a decision that transformed his life.

At the time that we spoke, Mr Fadugbagbe, who now trades full time and teaches budding investors, said he had cryptocurrency worth more than $200,000 (£140,000) in his possession.

“I’ll soon be moving into my own house, which I’m building. I have a farm – a very big one – courtesy of cryptocurrency,” he laughs gleefully, unencumbered by concerns that he could be inflating an investment bubble that will one day burst.

“No Nigerian comes to cryptocurrency and wants to look back. It’s a big opportunity.”

Success stories like Mr Fadugbagbe’s have attracted millions of Nigerians to digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

A 2020 online survey by data platform Statista found that 32% of those Nigerians who took part used cryptocurrencie – the highest proportion of any country in the world.