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‘Bitcoin holds prospects for businesses, youths’

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Although yet to be regulated, Bitcoin is said to hold huge prospects for businesses, especially small and medium scale enterprises, and the mass of youths in the country.
  
According to analyst, the currency’s digital format makes for faster, cheaper, easier exchanges of cash from which many small businesses may benefit. In all, Bitcoin’s assets stem from its decentralisation. Blockchain, the technology bitcoin was built on, allows you to not have to rely on a bank to process your financial transactions.
 
Bitcoin is a digital currency created in January 2009. It is a digital asset and payment system with a market capitalisation of about $180billion. It is considered by many to be one of the most successful digital currencies ever created.

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Bitcoin was the first and is the largest cryptocurrency in existence made by Satoshi Nakamoto.Speaking with The Guardian, Chinedu Obidiegwu, Marketing and Community Lead, Luno,  said Bitcoin is a store value just like gold, and other digital currencies, adding that it can also enable people, especially the youths to be self-employed.
   
“In order to send money back in a safe, cheap and fast way, we use crytocurrency; there is a wallet like an account where you can send Bitcoin around the world and receive it in a minute. For example, you can sell it off for Naira on a platform like Luno, and you withdraw the Naira in your account. It’s an easy payment platform and also easy source of value. Some people use it for remittance, some use it for investment, it’s just a best performing asset for the last decade, as it performs better than other stocks or assets,” he stated.
   
Against the perception that Bitcoin is illegal, Obidiegwu explained that although there is no regulation for it yet in Nigeria, “but a group in Nigeria is trying to work with regulators to get regulation around it, so that it can have legal backing.”
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According to him, one of the beauties of the Bitcoin is that players in the industry are doing the need to educate people to identify scam and run away from it. According to a new report from the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency is penetrating Nigeria regardless of the risk involved.
  
The CIBN said 41 per cent of new users of bitcoin were reportedly from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. The use of Bitcoin has continued to grow worldwide irrespective of the dangers of insecurity of funds and scams. Nigeria recorded its first case of Bitcoin fraud/litigation earlier in 2017, a fraudster stole the identity of a Nigerian bank customer and then created an account on the exchanger’s platform, using the customer’s identity, transferred the customer’s money to the Bitcoin exchanger and converted it to Bitcoin.
   
In 2018, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), were all directed by the Senate to enlighten Nigerians on the risks involved in trading with Bitcoin, but this report shows the enlightenment campaign has done little or nothing to dissuade Nigerians.
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Bitcoin is described as a volatile currency because it is operated mostly without regulations in place, thereby, creating loopholes for users to be defrauded. So, it is no surprise that the CBN didn’t recognise it as a legal tender. The CBN identifies Naira as the sole legal tender to trade. But not recognising Bitcoin as a currency for trade hasn’t stopped Nigerians, as consumer behaviour has gradually changed.
 
“There are concerns on the use of other digital currencies, which is currently changing the global payment ecosystem. Although the CBN has issued a regulation that relates to cryptocurrencies, but it does not prohibit the operation of crypto-businesses in Nigeria. The SEC also issued a notice warning the public to exercise caution with regards to making investments in cryptocurrencies. There is yet no definitive regulation from the SEC on investment in crypto-businesses or on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).”

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