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For over one year, the central bank of Nigeria banned crypto transactions in Nigeria’s financial sector.The central bank has continued to fiercely fight against crypto transactions in its financial ecosystem by blocking accounts associated with crypto transactions and imposing other sanctions on offenders. Despite their actions, crypto transactions are still on the increase in Africa’s biggest crypto market (Nigeria). This is evidenced by the figures in Nigeria’s peer-to-peer transactions.

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The Nigeria peer-to-peer transactions for 2021 rose by 16% on an annual basis with Nigeria’s P2P volumes on two major P2P platforms (Paxful and Localbitcoins) currently at $400 million, followed by Kenya with more than $160 million and South Africa with $117 million.In 2021. Africa was also considered as one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for cryptocurrency adoption and in the years to come, the continent’s cryptocurrency landscape is projected to experience massive growth both in its user base and trading percentages. Most startups are now aiming to build an efficient blockchain infrastructure that is firm and flexible enough to help users navigate complexities and facilitate secured cryptocurrency transactions across Nigeria and the continent at large. This is because the usual alternative for traders and businesses accepting crypto payments is peer-2-peer and OTCs (over the counter) which can be dangerous and unsafe due to an increase in scam activities. The bottom line is that Africa’s most populated country is not planning to give up on the Crypto market yet, therefore, they are willing to pay a price to hold and buy Bitcoin regardless of Nigeria’s central bank’s ban on crypto transactions via its financial institutions.

This is what Bitmama co-founded by Ruth Iselema (founder and chief executive officer of Bitmama) and Akin. Asalu (Chief Operating Officer of Bitmama) wants to achieve. Launched in 2019, Bitmama provides a secured blockchain infrastructure that allows users across Africa to transact Bitcoin, Ethereum, ripple, Celo, and five other cryptocurrencies. Bitmama raised preseed funding of US$350,000 in October 2021 to scale widely to other African countries.

The round was led by San Francisco-based venture capital, Flori Ventures, with participation from Nigeria-based Venture Capitals, Emergence Capital, Fedha Capital, and a wholelot of other Angels and Venture Capitals. The startup’s major products are the Bitmama exchange: This simply allows users to purchase, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies.

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Changera: This is a cross-border payment solution that allows customers to “transfer and receive money worldwide, purchase airtime or data for relatives and friends, and pay utility bills for loved ones from anywhere in the world.

Bitmama plans to scale both solutions more widely to other African countries after securing US$350,000 in pre-seed funding. To solve the problem of security and reliability, Bitmama’s rigorous 3-tier verification process is designed to ensure the safety of honest traders in the system and the inhibition of ingenuine users. According to Bitmama, it has already registered more than $6 million in transaction volume in 2021 with its users in Nigeria and Ghana, with over 15,000 users across its two products, a statistic the CEO claims is rising every day although they have done very little advertising. The new fund will enable Bitmama to grow its operational presence, expand its team, and infiltrate new markets across the continent, while rapidly scaling crypto and payment solutions in Africa.

Although the blockchain space in Africa is a complex sector to operate in terms of regulation and adoption, but as innovations like 5G penetrate the continent, even the most remote areas will be willing to explore the various opportunities presented by other emerging technologies such as blockchain and the possibilities of cryptocurrencies.

Bitmama is positioning itself to drive both the awareness and deeper adoption of crypto in grassroots Africa. They aim to achieve this through the distribution of a remote team across Africa and by building more blockchain-powered solutions to advance their mission. Personally, it would be pertinent for Bitmama to focus on creating a niche in the blockchain rather than pursuing its payment project, Changera. This is because several fintech such as paga, flutterwave, paystack, etc have already occupied a better part of that services. At most, Bitmama should start an exchange service of changing cryptocurrency to Fiat money.

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This article was first published on 22nd March 2022


I am an accomplished content creator and recently delved into technical writing. I enjoy using my skills to contribute to the exciting technological advances and create awareness of evolving technological trends in Nigeria.

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