Mapping Out Nigeria’s Blockchain Ecosystem

Globally, Nigeria’s blockchain ecosystem has evolved to be one of the most active in the world. Nigeria is currently the second largest bitcoin market, behind the United States. From a community of only a few enthusiastic “blockchain evangelists,” the Nigerian blockchain community has grown into a coalition of several blockchain-centric organizations who are actively leveraging blockchain to advance the country’s economic state.

In this year, 2021, the Nigerian blockchain ecosystem will definitely experience significant growth and development. This development will be impossible without the contribution of the active players that are contributing to the growth of blockchain in Nigeria, through crypto exchanges, blockchain education, crypto payment apps, and many more. In mapping out the journey of blockchain in Nigeria for 2021, it is important to explore the activities of some of the organizations and companies that are connecting the dots for blockchain in the country.

This article features a brief descriptive overview of the activities of some blockchain-powered startups in Nigeria under different niches like crypto exchanges, supply chain and logistics, crypto payment gateways, etc. 

Regulatory Bodies and Relevant Blockchain Associations

The evolution of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria, over the past few years, has emphasized the need for strong regulatory and institutional backing, for a technology like blockchain to scale. In Nigeria, a few organizations exist to provide support for the growth of the blockchain ecosystem, and also influence the development of favourable policies and regulations.

  • Blockchain Industry Association of Nigeria (BIAN)

Starting off as Nigeria Blockchain Alliance (NBA) initiative in 2017, before being incorporated as BIAN by the Cryptography Development Initiative of Nigeria (CDIN), BIAN is focused on advancing blockchain industry standards, adherence to regulations, anti-fraud activities, and other efforts that will help develop and sustain the Nigerian blockchain ecosystem.

  • Blockchain Nigeria User Group

The Blockchain Nigeria User Group was founded in 2016 by Chuta Chimezie, to develop sufficient Nigerian blockchain talents that are capable of creating blockchain solutions to address global challenges. The platform has positioned itself as a blockchain evangelist, spreading the knowledge of Nigeria through its events and training.

  • Stakeholders in Blockchain Association of Nigeria(SIBAN)

Crypto Exchanges

Knowing fully well the implication of having proper regulations in the blockchain industry, SIBAN was created to serve as a self regulatory body, providing regulations to guide blockchain activities in the country. 

In Nigeria, cryptocurrency exchanges are about the most common type of venture in the blockchain industry. Cryptocurrency exchange platforms constitute an integral part of Nigeria’s budding blockchain ecosystem. With a growing interest in cryptocurrencies, the Nigerian market is flooded with a plethora of crypto exchange platforms including BuyCoins, SabiExchange, Bitfxt, NaijaCrypto, Patricia, Chiji14xchange, Quidax Yellowcard, Coinprofile, Busha and coinbarter.

SabiExchange currently supports investment and trading of over 100 digital asset pairs. With SabiExchange, users can enjoy advanced financial services. 

YC-backed platform, BuyCoins, also supports cryptocurrency exchanges, but is limited to the buying and selling of Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin and USDC. However, with innovation ingrained in the company’s product, the company has been able to satisfy the needs of its users through its offerings. In 2020, BuyCoins processed transactions worth over $141 million. 

Patricia offers a unique product that makes buying, selling and using cryptocurrencies in Nigeria extremely easy. The platform has over 300,000 users who use the Patricia platform to meet their everyday needs. With Patrica, it is extremely easy to make use of bitcoin to pay bills, purchase airtime and buy data. 

Other cryptocurrency exchange platforms in Nigeria are also contributing significantly to the advancement of cryptocurrency adoption in the country, and are pivotal to the journey of blockchain in Nigeria in 2021.

Crypto Social Payment Apps

The companies under this category are the Nigerian-based blockchain-powered companies who are facilitating payment for Nigerians through the use of cryptocurrencies. 

Key players in this space include Bundle Africa, Bitsika and the flux app by Blueloop. 

Bundle Africa just launched in April 2020 and, since then, has grown to be one of the most used cryptocurrency payment apps in Nigeria, with a user base of over 30,000 people. The Bundle app makes it easy for anyone, anywhere, to send and receive cash and crypto instantly. Bundle’s vision is to become an indispensable product, whilst expanding cryptocurrency adoption in Africa, through its innovative product offerings.

Bitsika is another Ghana-Nigerian crypto social payment app which positions itself to be the cash app of Africa. Whilst the Bitsika app facilitates easy payment through the use of cryptocurrencies, it also facilitates cross-border remittance with zero transaction fees, which is especially useful in Africa where cross-border remittance fees are ridiculously high.

Late last year, Nigerian Fintech startup, Blueloop, raised $77,000 in pre-seed funding as it planned to roll out a mobile crypto-based payment platform named Flux. The flux platform allows anyone to receive and send money to anyone in any part of the world, convert the money into cash, and also spend it within their local region through their flux wallets. The flux app is one of the crypto payment apps that we expect to shape the face of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria for the year 2021.

Crypto Payment Gateways

The Nigerian fintech industry has witnessed the introduction of amazing payment gateways. Not until recently, all of these payment gateways excluded cryptocurrencies. But now, Nigeria can boast of quite a number of cryptocurrency payment gateways that allow individuals and businesses to accept transactions and payments in cryptocurrencies. 

Some of the organizations that provide crypto payment gateways in Nigeria include:

  • Fliqpay
  • Flutterwave,
  • Roqqu
  • Paychant
  • Cryptopay.ng
  • Paylot

Supply chain & Logistics/Real Estate

Blockchain-powered products in real estate and supply chain & logistics, within Nigeria, are not as abundant as they are for fintech. Nonetheless, we still have some disruptive companies that are harnessing blockchain to transform the real estate industry, as well as supply chain and logistics in Nigeria. Examples of such disruptive companies include House Africa and AgricChainx.

House Africa is Africa’s first blockchain-based property registry. House Africa leverages blockchain technology to authenticate property ownership and verify the integrity of land titles. This solution is made available to users through their PropVat product. 

AgricChainx, on the other hand, is a blockchain-based solution for agricultural supply chain and logistics. Their AgricChain solution helps in monitoring and tracking crops from the time of harvest till the time they are received by consumers or retailers. The company is also developing products for supply chain management for agricultural produce.

Blockchain Education/Incubator program

This category comprises organizations and initiatives that are actively involved in raising blockchain awareness and educating people about how to leverage blockchain, as a transformative tool, in Nigeria. Examples of such organizations and initiatives in Nigeria include Africa Blockchain Developers Call (Abdcseries), BlockchainDev1000, eWealth Atlantic, Blockchain African Ladies, Crypto Masterclass and Africa Blockchain Developers call.

Each of these initiatives contribute immensely to the growth of blockchain in Nigeria. BlockchainDev1000 is an initiative of the Blockchain Nigeria User Group, and it was created to raise at least 1000 blockchain talents in Nigeria. eWealth Atlantic is also focused on providing a platform to educate and train Nigerians on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, in their quest to help Nigerians maximize wealth.

Blockchain African ladies is a non-profit initiative that unites African ladies through blockchain education. A platform like this is critical to ensuring gender inclusion within the blockchain industry.

DeFi/Blockchain platforms

Active players in this space include About Network, Bantu Blockchain, Beep Magnet, and DeFi platform, Xend Finance.

While Xend Finance provides a DeFi platform for credit unions and cooperatives, Cryptocurrency Market provides comprehensive analysis of the cryptocurrency market, claiming to “concentrate on centralizing information on a decentralized platform which will in turn save both time and money.” 

Beep Magnet, however, was created by blockchain enthusiasts to unite their common interest and advance the development of blockchain-driven solutions. 

Media

Of course, the blockchain industry in Nigeria and its activities would not have attracted as much visibility as it has if not for the media and how they have shed light on the activities of the industry. Media organizations helping Nigeria’s blockchain industry achieve more visibility include:

  • Crypto TV plus
  • Decentralize Africa
  • CoinNewsExtra

Legal/Consulting/Compliance

This category features organizations that provide legal expertise and professional consultancy services to enhance the growth and progress of blockchain projects and activities in Nigeria. Key players in this niche include Lex Futurus, Future-Proof Intelligence (FINT) and A&D Forensics. 

Lex Futurus offers professional expertise on legal advisory, training and consultancy services for blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

A&D Forensics assists their clients with insights on blockchain technology, how cryptocurrencies and blockchain can help their ventures stay on top. They also train their clients on how to use blockchain industry-leading tools and very importantly, they enforce compliance with regulations and industry best practices.

The Journey Ahead For Nigeria’s Blockchain Industry in 2021

2021 promises to be an amazing year for the Nigerian blockchain industry, considering the milestones the industry recorded in the past year and the breakthroughs in regulations and adoption. The overall success and growth of the Nigerian blockchain industry in 2021 will, indeed, be more than that of previous years. This is, however, the case, because of the promising potential of the different organizations and initiatives, some of which are featured in this article, which are shaping the face of the blockchain industry in Nigeria. The map of blockchain in Nigeria for this year will feature a lot of more exciting blockchain-based innovations from many of these changemakers that constitute the Nigerian blockchain industry.


Editor’s Note: There are probably more crypto/blockchain-based Nigerian startups/organisation. The list keep growing every day. These are the ones we’ve curated so far.

If you know of any crypto/blockchain-based startups/organisation not included in this article. Please kindly drop their names in the comment box. We will continue to update the list.

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