The official exchange rates for Naira as published by the Central Bank of Nigeria have little to do with the real market prices at which you could actually buy the US dollar and other major fiat currencies with Naira (NGN). This reality fully applies to cryptocurrencies as well. The irony is that you can’t take the official USD quotation alongside Bitcoin price in dollars and earnestly hope to buy BTC at the resulting exchange rate – or anywhere near it.
So how much is Bitcoin worth in Naira and where can we buy this cryptocurrency without overpaying (too much)?
Before we proceed to reviewing actual Bitcoin to Naira exchange rates across different platforms, let’s quickly examine what Bitcoin price in NGN might be as calculated on the basis of the official Naira exchange rate against the US dollar.
It is not uncommon for countries with high inflation levels to set exchange rates that are detached from reality. As we will see shortly, Nigeria, which is among 15 countries with highest inflation globally, is a good example of this trend. It remains an open question regarding who is using the official exchange rates that the Nigerian central bank (CBN) publishes daily and for what purpose exactly.
Today, we are expected to use these rates:
Whether you agree with this number or not, but according to the CBN, one American dollar is presently worth 433.4 NGN. Obviously, if you can’t actually buy dollars for so much, it is, of course, your problem, not the central bank’s concern.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, doesn’t belong to any jurisdiction or organization. There’s no central bank that sets its price against, say, the US dollar – such prices are established by the free market strictly through supply and demand. However, it is still possible to calculate them using Bitcoin price in USD and the official exchange rate, in our case the USD to NGN exchange rate.
According to the price-tracking service coinmarketcap.com, Bitcoin is currently changing hands at $19,589.61 per coin:
Now we can calculate the “official” exchange rate at which we could, in theory at least, trade Bitcoin for Naira:
19,589.61 x 433.4 = 8,490,136.97 NGN
This is what the CBN would likely want us to use if it recognized Bitcoin on a par with fiat currencies such as USD, Euro, etc.
The free market is apparently disagreeing with the Nigerian top monetary authority. Actually, you can buy USDT, a stablecoin tracking USD value, for Naira on the Binance spot market, and the price there confirms the thesis that the CBN is fooling us:
That said, USDT is traded for a premium of 68% over the official exchange rate. As a matter of fact, it’s not a premium at all but the real price if we assume (and that is a solid assumption anyway) that the official rate is pulled out of thin air by the CBN.
Then, knowing the real USD to Naira conversion rate allows us to figure out how much we can potentially get by selling one Bitcoin for Naira:
19,589.61 x 729.4 = 14,288,661.53 NGN
While it is only a calculated cross rate (read, you can’t buy Bitcoin at this price in real life, if only by pure chance), this number can still be quite useful as it gives us an understanding of the price at which we would like to purchase Bitcoin. That would be our bargain price.
Then how close can we get to it in practice?
The Nigerian central bankers are not just trying to give us a false impression about the market price of the Naira. By prohibiting local banks from processing cryptocurrency-related transactions, they are also seeking to prevent us from acquiring real value (Bitcoin).
That’s the main reason why peer-to-peer (p2p) marketplaces have become so popular in Nigeria as well as other countries where cryptocurrencies are in the gray zone at best. These platforms don’t use banks – their users enjoy the luxury of being able to make payments to each other directly. Put simply, there is no reason for the CBN and its likes to interfere.
You can do this on the following marketplaces:
These are not the only p2p sites where you can buy Bitcoin with Naira. For example, OKX (formerly known as OKEx) offers p2p trading as well, but there are only a couple of offers right now there to sell BTC for NGN – simply not enough quotations to draw any reliable conclusions about the price.
Further, you can buy Bitcoin with a number of swap services (NairaEx, Yellow Card) and payment (remittance) platforms (BitPesa, MoonPay). However, they are not auction markets. The price there is not discovered by buyers and sellers simultaneously entering competitive bids – you can’t set your own price with them (which defeats the purpose of this exposition).
It is also possible to buy Bitcoin with Naira on regular, orderbook-based exchanges. For example, Binance Spot allows you to trade USDT for Naira, so you can use USDT as an in-between asset even though it requires one more step and double fees.
On Luno, a similar exchange, you can trade BTC for NGN immediately. However, to deposit Naira there, you will need to use vouchers, which you first buy through a third party and then redeem on the exchange. Yeah, pretty much feels like six of one and half a dozen of the other between Binance and Luno.
Then again, on a p2p marketplace, you are free from these pains. Here, it is the buyer who transfers the money to the seller, not the service (as is the case with traditional exchanges and swap services). For this reason alone, no CBN can stand in the way of a free p2p exchange in which one user sells crypto and the other pays him with fiat straight away.
And that leaves us with the aforementioned list of p2p marketplaces.
Binance is mostly known for its spot market – it’s the largest cryptocurrency exchange out there by trading volume. Although it doesn’t allow you to buy Bitcoin with Naira directly on Binance Spot, you can do that on Binance P2P:
The offers to sell BTC start at 14,348,210 NGN per coin, which is a little over 1% premium to the spot market price as calculated above. This premium likely reflects the unofficial consensus of traders across p2p marketplaces, as we will see later.
LocalBitcoins is another popular p2p platform that has presence in Nigeria and which allows you to trade Bitcoin for Naira:
Prices start at 14,479,355 NGN per Bitcoin, which is a premium of around 1.01% – not a big difference from Binance P2P anyway.
Remitano offers p2p Bitcoin trading services in South-East Asia and Africa including Nigeria. If you want to buy Bitcoin for Naira on this platform, you are expected to pay the following rates in NGN:
The best offer to sell BTC on this marketplace is at 14,484,485 NGN – nearly the same as on LocalBitcoins.
Bitpapa provides escrowed p2p trading services for Bitcoin and a select few other cryptos. While it is a latecomer to the Nigerian crypto market (compared to the other marketplaces discussed here), it has already grabbed the attention of Nigerian traders:
Here you can buy 1 Bitcoin for 14,598,825 NGN, which is a 1.02% premium to the bargain price of 14,288,661.53 NGN as determined in the previous section.
So what do the prices on these marketplaces tell us?
As Bitcoin prices across four different p2p marketplaces demonstrate, all these platforms offer essentially the same conversion rates that come very close to the calculated price, with differences somewhat bigger than 1%. This means, by and large, that you should take into consideration other things like ID verification requirements, ease of use, withdrawal fees, number of offers, available liquidity, etc when choosing where to buy the cryptocurrency.
For example, while Binance offers most liquidity and has marginally the lowest prices across the board, its strict KYC and AML policies (bordering on outright paranoid) have alienated many traders over time. Add to the mix a history of arbitrary account locks and money freezes along with instances of arguing deniability in the court of law, and you start wondering whether this exchange is worth the effort, all things considered.
Remitano and LocalBitcoins, in turn, implement multilevel verification policies that limit how much you can trade before having to go through proper verification beyond simple email and phone number confirmation (read, not much). With Bitpapa, on the other hand, you are not required to verify your identity at all, and the marketplace doesn’t set any limits on how much you can trade daily, weekly, monthly, or whatever without having to verify your account.
In this context, Bitpapa is probably the best choice for those Nigerian users who are either dipping their toes into crypto waters or prefer not to find themselves stuck halfway by severe ID verification policies.
After all, this is what peer-to-peer trading is about.
Q: How Long Does it Take to Buy or Sell Bitcoin?
A: On most p2p marketplaces, you can reasonably expect to trade Bitcoin in under 5 minutes.
Q: Can I Buy Less Than 1 BTC?
A: Absolutely! You can buy as little as 1000 NGN worth of Bitcoin, which is ~0.00006896 BTC.
Q: Is Buying Bitcoin Safe?
A: Yes, it is safe as long as you use trusted and reliable marketplaces like the ones described in this article.
Q: Do I Need Any Special Equipment or Software to Buy Bitcoin?
A: No, any modern browser allows you to access online trading services with which you can easily buy Bitcoin within a few minutes.
Q: How Much Is One Bitcoin in Naira Currently?
A: As of this writing, you can buy one Bitcoin for around 14,500,000 NGN.