Nigeria, the most populous black nation on the planet, with a population of over 200 million people, leads the global Google trends for ‘purchase Bitcoin’ as of January 29, 2023. This comes while the country’s election is only a few weeks away.
The Nigerian Central Bank announced the redesign of the country’s currency in October 2022. As a result, Nigerians were given a deadline of January 2023 to replace their old notes with new ones, which was announced three months earlier.
As the deadline approaches, many Nigerians are unable to swap their old notes owing to a lack of new ones. Long lines in banking rooms and ATMs issuing outdated money exacerbated the situation.
Many Nigerians have taken to social media to vent their dissatisfaction with the situation.
Former presidential candidate Kingsley Moghalu stated on Twitter,
“It seems the Naira redesign strategy has become a fight over banning vote-buying politicians vs regular folks being allowed to go on normal lives with legal tender currency. Stopping vote buying may cause individuals to suffer, according to some. This is a genuinely challenging position. Nigeria! ”
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a presidential contender from one of the main political parties, also expressed his worries on Twitter. Although he admitted that this is a global norm, he urged the central bank to extend the deadline so that the unbanked and craftsmen may swap their old money.
Although the Central Bank has extended the deadline by ten days, according to the Nigeria Presidency’s official Twitter account, it remains unclear why so many Nigerians are resorting to cryptocurrency at this time. Could it be due to a fiat currency shortage, rapid inflation, or both? The only way to know is to wait and see.