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Money 7 Things every Nigerian should know about Bitcoins

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In the past decade, Bitcoin became a huge sensation that caught the attention of many across America and Europe. In fact, in 2017, it was the second most searched global news term, as reported by Google. Bitcoin is a digital currency tipped by various cryptocurrency enthusiasts to revolutionise finance globally. A worldwide survey on Google Trends showed that Nigeria is top among countries with Bitcoin-related search queries. Therefore, in this article, we discuss seven things that every Nigerian needs to know about Bitcoin.

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  1. Bitcoin is a Cryptocurrency
The word cryptocurrency comes from “crypto,” which means secret/encryption, and “currency,” which is a medium of exchange. Bitcoin is a digitally encrypted medium of exchange people can use in their day to day transactions. It was created in 2009 by an unknown individual/group of persons identified as Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin uses a peer-to-peer network to facilitate payments all around the world.

  1. Bitcoin is Decentralized
Although Satoshi created it, Bitcoin is not owned by Satoshi. It is a currency that operates on a secured network, i.e., blockchain, without the use of intermediaries/third party structures. Bitcoin’s decentralisation nature is opposed to how fiat currencies operate as it takes power away from a central authority, i.e., central banks.

  1. Bitcoin is Borderless
Bitcoin payments are not restricted to any country. You can send and receive Bitcoin from anywhere around the world. For instance, you can send Bitcoin tokens to your friend in the United States of America from Nigeria without going through the stress of exchanging currencies. All you have to do is send the coins from your wallet to the receiver’s wallet. There are a lot of reliable wallet providers available. E.g., Blockchain, Coinbase, etc.

  1. Bitcoin is Mineable
Fiat currencies such as Naira, Dollar, Euro, etc., are printed and kept in circulation by the Central Banks. However, since Bitcoin is a decentralised currency, it is kept in circulation by the actions of nodes on the blockchain. These nodes are responsible for monitoring transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain. Thus, they complete blocks of verified transactions added to the blockchain and get rewarded with bitcoins. Bitcoin has a maximum supply of 21 million tokens, with only 18.1 million tokens in circulation. Therefore, over 2 million coins are yet unmined.

  1. Bitcoin is an Investment Opportunity
Bitcoin is the most popular token in the cryptocurrency space. With a market cap of $150+ billion, it has 65% dominance. Therefore, several individuals and companies have made money by investing in Bitcoin. From a starting price of less than $0.1 in 2010, Bitcoin’s value has increased to as high $20,000 in 2017 and presently sits at $8,000 - $9,000. Several business ventures have sprung up to take advantage of this investment opportunity.

  1. Bitcoin is used for payments.
Bitcoin is steadily gaining mainstream attention, and several merchants accept the coin as a form of payment for products and services. A few examples of companies that accept Bitcoin as a form of payment includes Wikipedia, Microsoft, AT & T, etc. Thus, in a matter of time, more companies will start accepting the token for payments.

  1. Bitcoin can be converted to fiat currencies
On most exchanges, Bitcoin is paired with the USD for transactions. However, with a lot of developments such as the USD Tether and advent of crypto-to-fiat exchanges, users can now buy their bitcoins using their ATM cards/ Bank payments on exchanges. In Nigeria, Blockstale is one of the leading startups providing Bitcoin ATMs that exchange Bitcoins for cash and vice versa.

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