Bitcoin is on the rise again so far in 2017. The fastest growing currency ever has topped the $1,000 mark again and is reaching historic heights — 1,194$ per Bitcoin according to CEX.io exchange rate on 24th of February. Not only that, but the majority of the signs are pointing towards a prosperous year for the cryptocurrency. First off, there’s the imminent SEC ruling on a proposed Bitcoin ETF (Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust), and then there’s the wonderful news from the East.
Technological powerhouses Japan will officially recognize the cryptocurrency as a legal method of payment this coming April. When coupled with Bitcoin’s generally deflationary model (more on this later), this is welcoming news indeed. You might look at the latest price spikes in BTC markets, and be kicking yourself for missing the boat on the investment opportunity, but you needn’t. With such growing global recognition of Bitcoins, many experts see a end of year price of $2,500 to $3,000 as likely for 2017.
Why is BTC good for Nigeria?
Owing to the lack of banking infrastructure in major part of Africa, Bitcoin is increasingly being seen as an attractive means of exchange, as much as it is a savvy investment opportunity. African bitcoin startups are revolutionizing the way capital flows around Africa, bypassing expensive and antiquated methods like Western Union, and traditional banks. Particularly interesting is the ease with which foreign investors can make transfers to businesses in Nigeria, and vice-versa, using the platform. This is revolutionary as it promotes a simpler, more attractive business climate, ultimately meaning greater foreign investment in Nigeria.
Why invest in BTC?
The obvious answer is that BTC looks set to increase in value over time. This is because it is based on a deflationary theoretic model. The fact is there only exist a finite number of Bitcoins that can ever be discovered. So if providing transactions continue to happen on the network, the value of single unit (coin) could potentially increase infinitely. Granted, this is a rather grandiose statement, but assuming the market is able to grow unabated, the economic theory behind it is solid. Think of it like gold. There’s only so much gold on planet earth, presumably, being such a precious metal to humanity, the demand will always be there for gold. If this is the case, and as the supply diminishes, the price must also increase.
As if the potential for infinite growth wasn’t enough, there are some other appealing reasons to start using the cryptocurrency:
Bitcoin purchases can be made without any association to your personal identity. They’re like an online equivalent of making purchases with cash, enjoying the best of both worlds in terms of discretion. Paying with cash often requires you to meet with a person, or for them to share with you their banking details, whereas with card payments, your identity is exposed by default. Bitcoin allows anonymous and quick online payments at a low cost.
For those who feel uneasy at the thought of a few banking conglomerates controlling global finances, currency production, and interest rates, it’s refreshing to hear that Bitcoin is completely decentralized. This means that there is no controlling entity that can produce more, or less. Traditionally, funds are controlled by large powerhouses of global economics. They control production, distribution, transfer, and just about everything in between, and they do so using coercion. Bitcoin allows users to spend, save, and do essentially all the things typical for a traditional currency, only minus this coercive control. Think of it like taking back control of global finance.
Cheap, borderless transfers
One of Bitcoin’s most powerful selling points is the speed, cost, and lack of restrictions on both local and international transfers. All you need is a receiving address, and for a few cents you can send literally any sum of money to any jurisdiction in the world in a matter of hours. This is set to revolutionize the way people (both in business, and for personal reasons) send and receive money. The system is much more convenient, affordable, and faster than the traditional, next-best options of international banking transfers (known to be extortionate in and out of Africa, generally), or Western Union.
How to invest in BTC
If you’ve heard enough and are considering getting involved for yourself as an investor, there are different levels of investment, suitable for all budgets.
Buy and hold
If you’re keen to make some money off the Bitcoin phenomenon, the easiest method to do so is by buying some and simply waiting. Store your BTC in a suitably safe wallet and cross your fingers for those $3,000 predictions coming from industry think-tanks. Failing that, play the long game, and check the value in ten years time. If economic theory holds true, it could be an incredibly smart move on your behalf.
Investment in mining
One of the big opportunities of recent years for large scale investors, was to get into Bitcoin mining. For those of you who are unsure what is meant by this, check out this article. It’s a much too complex topic to delve into here. The take home message is that the time to get involved in mining has definitely passed for all but those investors with the largest financial backing. The cost of setting up a mining rig on the scale required astronomical, and that’s without factoring in the electricity bills that you’d incur. Mining for BTC in 2017 is a competitive game, and certainly not an easy route into investment in the cryptocurrency.
Investment in companies
Another option would be to invest in the infrastructure of Bitcoin. This is similar to traditional investments only you’d buy stocks and shares in companies specializing in Bitcoin. Being such a new technology that’s gaining popularity on a global level means that local exchange points and services like BitPesa require investment to bring the service to the masses. This is particularly relevant for Africa, and Nigeria because of how well suited the new payment system is for the many “bankless” people of the continent.
Where to buy BTC in Nigeria
There are several different options for buying Bitcoins in Nigeria. You can use bank transfer, Perfect Money, Western Union, and even cash (deposit, and in person) to make purchases, so anyone interested can easily get involved. Services that allow users in Nigeria to buy BTC include:
CEX.IO Bitcoin Exchange: Global exchange with mobile app, that also works in Nigeria
NairaEx: Local exchange in Nigeria
Bitcoin ATMs: Bitcoin ATMs make the process of buying Bitcoins easy for those without personal computers. Current machines are located in Lagos, Lekki, and Nasarawa.
While there are definitely other methods of purchasing Bitcoins in Nigeria, these are the largest and most popular. The validity, and security of other such operations cannot be guaranteed.