Nigeria has emerged as a major market for cryptocurrencies, despite the Central Bank of Nigeria banning banks from servicing crypto exchanges in February 2021.
MetaMask, a major cryptocurrency wallet, has expanded direct on-ramps with local banks, making self-custody cryptocurrency purchases more accessible in the country.
MetaMask and MoonPay partnership
On March 21, MetaMask’s parent firm ConsenSys announced a new integration with crypto fintech MoonPay, enabling Nigerian users to purchase crypto via instant bank transfers.
The new feature is available within the MetaMask mobile and Portfolio DApp, significantly simplifying the process of buying crypto without using credit or debit cards in Nigeria.
Prior to the partnership, buying crypto on MetaMask was costly and time-consuming, according to MetaMask product manager Lorenzo Santos. “While Moonpay had a card integration feature, about 90% of attempts to buy crypto with a credit or debit card were declined.”
With the new integration supporting local bank transfers, crypto purchases on MetaMask are now faster and cheaper, allowing users to access crypto without sending assets from a centralized exchange.
Despite the current issues with crypto on-ramps in Nigeria, the country has emerged as a major market for MetaMask, ranking third in mobile monthly active users.
According to the Chainalysis 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index, Nigeria is one of the world’s top 20 ranked countries in cryptocurrency adoption. Some reports suggest that 35% of the Nigerian population aged 18 to 60 owned or traded cryptocurrencies in 2022.
The Nigerian economy has been plagued by currency devaluation and inflation, leading many people to turn to cryptocurrencies to store value and hedge against economic uncertainty.
Despite the lack of clear regulations surrounding cryptocurrencies both in Nigeria and around the world, the market continues to grow.
Bitcoin is by far the most popular cryptocurrency in Nigeria, with many local exchanges offering trading services for digital currencies. Other cryptocurrencies such as Ripple, Ethereum, and Litecoin are also gaining popularity with Nigerian investors.
Regulations on cryptocurrencies in Nigeria
The Nigerian government hasn’t yet taken a clear stance on cryptocurrencies, but there have been some indications that they are considering regulating them.
In 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria banned all financial institutions from servicing cryptocurrency exchanges, which resulted in a temporary dip in trading volumes. However, many still operate in the crypto in Nigeria using peer-to-peer trading platforms.
MoonPay chief product and strategy officer Zeeshan Feroz said that the integration is estimated to reduce the decline rate for direct crypto purchases in Nigeria from 90% to 30%.
He noted that customers of all banks in Nigeria would have access to the service through bank transfers, which is a widely used payment method across Nigerian e-commerce businesses.
MetaMask’s integration with MoonPay is expected to increase the adoption of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria, making it easier for Nigerians to invest in and store cryptocurrencies.
The new feature will enable users in Nigeria to purchase crypto without the need for credit or debit cards, which were previously the only available options.
MetaMask’s expansion of direct on-ramps with local banks in Nigeria is a significant step towards making cryptocurrency purchases more accessible and affordable in the country.