Bitcoin has become an asset of choice for people who otherwise don’t have a lot of choice. Really, how many simple people across the world have access to fixed income markets and can buy, say, US treasuries, the epitome of riskless assets? While not completely risk-free, the king of cryptos is the only real option for locals in inflation-plagued nations like Nigeria (alongside the American dollar itself for cash payments).
Now you can easily exercise this option with Bitpapa, a global p2p marketplace.
Unless you want to trade your Bitcoin for some other coin, you will need a fiat onramp to acquire it with a fiat currency, be it the Nigerian Naira (NGN) or the US dollar. Basically, it’s a service that enables conversion of fiat to Bitcoin and (optionally) sending it to an external wallet (in order to sell your cryptocurrency, you would need a fiat offramp).
You can get a fiat onramp with the following platforms:
Cryptocurrency wallets are hands down the easiest to use. However, only a small number of them allow you to actually do something other than sending, receiving and storing a cryptocurrency. For example, the best non-custodial Bitcoin wallet out there, Electrum, doesn’t support buying or selling Bitcoin, full stop.
Further, the wallets that do in fact support this feature are either using some payment system as the backend for fiat onramps (like Exodus with MoonPay) or representing exchange frontends themselves that enable instant currency conversions (for example, Coinbase). But whatever the case might be, you are likely to massively overpay in service fees when using cryptocurrency wallets to buy Bitcoin.
And next come payment systems.
Once Bitcoin got worldwide recognition, a number of cryptocurrency payment systems emerged, along with a few existing ones that embraced the new reality and, after some consideration, allowed their customers to store, send, receive, and even trade Bitcoin (the most notable example of the latter kind is PayPal).
Fiat payment systems are built, well, around fiat money transfers (whereas cryptocurrencies are payment systems in and of themselves). They necessarily have to support a slew of fiat currencies. And while PayPal doesn’t support Naira (nor does it allow Nigerian users to buy crypto), MoonPay does, so you can buy Bitcoin with Naira there if necessary.
The downside is that MoonPay’s fees won’t make you happy. The service will charge you about 4.5% on top of any crypto purchase that you paid for with a debit or credit card. For a bank transfer, the trade looks more lucrative at 1% exchange commision (with a minimum fee around 5$), but bank transfers are not cheap on their own, anyway.
BitPesa, a remittance platform from Kenya, is a viable alternative to MoonPay. Under the hood, it uses the Bitcoin blockchain as a settlement layer, with the implication being that it doesn’t need to move fiat anywhere, which makes for fast and cost-effective payments. But most importantly, it operates in Nigeria, and you can buy Bitcoin with Naira:
With that said, centralized exchanges and p2p marketplaces remain the two major options for buying Bitcoin regardless of your whereabouts. However, things are much more complicated in Nigeria today, and that’s why it makes sense to pit them against each other in a separate entry and see how they fare.
It will also help answer the question where to buy bitcoin online in this country.
Unlike nations like El-Salvador or the Central African Republic (just one country east from Nigeria), which officially made Bitcoin legal tender, the Nigerian government is continuing to wage the war it can’t possibly win.
More specifically, on February 5, 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ordered all local banks to close accounts of entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions, as well as desist from transacting with them in the future. That instantly made it impossible for Nigerian users to deposit and withdraw funds on centralized exchanges, and forced behemoths like PayPal to stay away from the Nigerian market.
Under these circumstances, you wouldn’t exactly expect the Nigerian government to endorse cryptocurrency trading. This is also the reason why centralized exchanges supporting the Nigerian national currency are few and far in between. And even where it is technically supported, the things are not as straightforward as they need or used to be.
For example, Luno, a London-based cryptocurrency exchange, had to disable all Naira deposits and withdrawals for a few months after the Nigerian authorities cracked down on cryptocurrency operations. Presently, you can deposit and withdraw Naira on Luno with the so-called vouchers, which can be purchased and redeemed through a third party service.
Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, doesn’t support direct trading between BTC and NGN. So if you wanted to buy Bitcoin with Naira (and not hurt the CBN in the process), you would have to first buy stablecoin USDT with NGN and then buy BTC with USDT. Okay, the Nigerian banksters may not love Bitcoin, but they turn a blind eye to anything even remotely resembling the American dollar.
At the time when many centralized exchanges did their best to get around the cryptocurrency operations ban, p2p marketplaces, on the contrary, didn’t have to do anything. Since they don’t accept fiat deposits and, by extension, don’t have to provide fiat withdrawals, they don’t need to open accounts in Nigerian banks, either.
Which effectively makes them exempt from the wrath of the Nigerian central bank.
Moreover, the total majority of these marketplaces are global, registered in Bitcoin-friendly jurisdictions, and not in the least subject to Nigerian laws, however hostile those might be. On a p2p marketplace, people are trading with each other, with fiat transactions flowing between them outside the marketplace – the latter doesn’t participate in the trade.
This essentially explains why p2p marketplaces are most popular in jurisdictions that are either openly hostile or not very friendly overall toward cryptocurrencies. Just in case, Nigeria leans more toward the first group.
And that takes us to Bitpapa, a new kid on the Nigerian cryptocurrency block.
While new in Nigeria, Bitpapa is not entirely a newcomer to the crypto space. It’s been active in this space since 2018 and already made a name for itself. The marketplace aims to provide a secure trading environment for users across the world, and now it is available for Nigerian users too:
Here are but a few of Bitpapa’s main advantages:
To sign up with the service, you will only need a working email to confirm your registration. You don’t need to verify your account, although some users may choose to trade only with verified accounts or accounts with a confirmed phone number. Other than that, there’s no difference between accounts on Bitpapa.
You can enable 2FA with Google Authenticator to start receiving one-time passwords for signing in and other important operations. You can also set an anti-phishing word that helps recognize fake emails sent by fraudsters to your email.
Bitpapa connects buyers with sellers and acts as an escrow agent by enforcing the thorough execution and completion of the trade by both sides.
When the trade is opened, the marketplace locks the seller’s cryptocurrency in an escrow account, and the seller can no longer access the locked amount. Now, the seller cannot run away with the buyer's money after the buyer makes the payment using the payment details provided by the seller.
In case the seller refuses to keep his end of the bargain and release the coins on his own accord, the marketplace itself will release the cryptocurrency after the buyer provides the proof of payment. On the other hand, if the buyer doesn’t pay the seller, he won’t be able to get the seller’s coins.
This approach makes for safe and secure exchange of cryptocurrency for fiat by equally protecting the buyer and the seller.
Bitpapa doesn't charge its own fees for executing a trade (zero-fee trading). However, you may have to pay the fees charged by an external payment system when making a fiat transfer (off marketplace), as well as pay network fees when depositing or withdrawing cryptocurrency from your Bitpapa account.
The English-speaking community of Nigerian cryptocurrency users can now enjoy a smooth trading experience with a polished web interface that the marketplace provides:
For those who are always on the go, Bitpapa developed a simple but powerful mobile application available for both Android and iOS platforms. Experienced traders will definitely like Bitpapa’s Telegram bot. With a few commands, the bot allows you to do the same stuff as the web interface.
Besides Bitcoin, you can trade such cryptos as ETH, TON, XMR and a stablecoin USDT, with more coins to be added in the nearest future. And you can buy these with Naira using an array of payment methods, both global (like card-to-card money transfers or gift cards) and specific to Nigeria and Africa in general (for example, Chipper Cash).
As Bitpapa grows its presence in the country, more payment methods will be added. And if you don’t find your favorite one or just run into problems, Bitpapa’s support is available 24/7 and ready to answer any questions in English.
But it is not only about buying and selling crypto. With Bitpapa, you can also earn passive income through its 3-tier referral program. The service allows you to build 3 levels of referrals and start receiving commissions from both your referrals and the users referred by your referrals.
It has never been easy to buy Bitcoin with fiat anywhere in the world. But this is particularly true with respect to countries like Nigeria where crypto remains a vast gray area with a lot of uncertainties and lack of legal clarity. By bringing together cryptocurrency buyers and sellers, Bitpapa turns this process into a simple and enjoyable journey.
And now you know where this journey starts.
Q: What Are the Fees for Buying Bitcoin?
A: Bitpapa doesn’t charge trading fees. However, you may be required to pay network and processing fees in case you decide to withdraw your Bitcoin.
Q: What Is the Safest Way to Buy Bitcoin in Nigeria?
A: Peer-to-peer marketplaces offer the safest and most secure way to buy Bitcoin in Nigeria.
Q: Where Should a Beginner Buy Bitcoin in Nigeria?
A: Bitpapa’s marketplace is the right place for a beginner to set out on their crypto journey.
Q: What Is the Minimum Amount to Invest in Bitcoin on Bitpapa?
A: There’s no minimum requirement for buying Bitcoin on Bitpapa. But keep in mind that Bitcoin sellers are free to set their own minimum requirements.