It’s been around 11 days since the Central Bank of Nigeria banned all supervised financial institutions from providing services to cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. At the risk of stiff penalties, all banks and institutions were instructed to close crypto-related firms’ accounts instantly.
In the evoke of the provocative decision, public interest in Bitcoin (BTC) in Nigeria continues to outstrip other countries more than ever, according to the latest available data from Google Trends. Even more stark is the hefty 36% premium on Bitcoin’s price till Feb. 16.
The premium translates into a $71,150 price tag per Bitcoin, as contrasted with the average spot market price of $51,314 calculated in Bitnewsbot’s price index. The premium is also far superior to the five next largest premiums globally at present: 3.24% in South Africa, and between 1% and 3% in Argentina, Peru, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
According to an analysis conducted by Cointelegraph last week, the immediate impact of the central bank ban seems to have done little to suppress what its author termed as the “hyperbitcoinization” of retail trading culture in the country. Blockchain.com published a report back in Aug. 2020 illustrating that Nigeria had been the best-performing country on its platform since April of that year. Google Trends at that time further reflected the country’s persistent leading position in terms of global search interest in Bitcoin.
As a consequence of the central bank ban, Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission halted its projected regulatory sandbox for crypto firms last week.
Nigeria senator Sani Musa remarked in a plenary Senate the last Thursday that Bitcoin posed a vital threat to the national fiat currency, the naira, although other lawmakers disputed his argument with an argument in favor of cracking down on rogue actors using crypto, rather than preventing citizens from doing “great business” and profiting from opportunities in the cryptocurrency industry.