The price of Bitcoin BTC in Nigeria has skyrocketed to well above global market levels amid continued efforts by the central bank to push its citizens into digitized cash and forex trading gaps between the Central Bank of Nigeria official price and Parallel market price.
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At the time of writing, the price of 1 BTC on the Nigerian crypto exchange NairaEX is 17.8 million nairas, equating to a whopping $38,792.
This is more than a 60% premium over the current market price of Bitcoin, around $23,700 at the time of writing.
It comes as the Central Bank of Nigeria has continued to impose limits on ATM cash withdrawals amid an ongoing effort to accelerate its shift to a cashless society.
In December 2022, the CBN directed deposit money banks and other financial institutions to ensure that over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities per week do not exceed N100,000 and N500, 000, respectively.
However, due to the mixed reactions from Nigerians, the apex bank increased the maximum weekly limit for cash withdrawals across all channels by individuals and corporate organisations to N500,000 and N5 million respectively.
The move also came just days before new naira banknotes went into circulation with the aim of curbing inflation and money laundering. The central bank imposed a deadline of Jan. 24 for Nigerians to exchange their old, higher denomination bank notes for the new currency.
However, there were long queues and complaints that there was insufficient time to meet the deadline. The central bank has now extended that deadline to Feb. 10, the BBC reported on Jan. 29.
It is not the first time the Bitcoin premium has surged in Nigeria. In February 2021, the central bank banned regulated financial institutions from providing services to cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, driving the BTC premium as high as 36%.
The recent interest in Bitcoin has also seen Nigeria becoming the leading country for Bitcoin web searches, according to Google Trends.