Nigeria’s First Bitcoin ATM Opens For Business In Lagos

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Bitcoin ATM
According to Digg, a $100-dollar investment in bitcoin in 2009 would have yielded a $9.2 million return today.

Nigeria is finally home to a bitcoin ATM in Lagos in response to the increasing interest and adoption of cryptocurrency in the country.

Daniel Adekunle is the founder and CEO of Blockstale, the blockchain hardware and software development firm based in Lagos that is behind the country’s first bitcoin ATM, according to Weetracker.

Bitcoin ATMs function like traditional cash machines but instead of cashing out money from your bank account, you can buy and, in some cases, sell bitcoin against local fiat currency.  

Cryptocurrency is a popular topic in Nigeria. In 2019, Nigerians did the highest number of word searches in the world for “bitcoin”, according to Google Trends.

Adekunle claims to have designed and built the machine specifically tailored for the African market. He describes African consumers as a “little rigid when it comes to innovation and personal interactions with high tech devices,” according to Weetracker.

The Nigerian bitcoin ATM does not accept credit or debit cards as these are not widely used in Nigeria. Instead, users transact with the machine through a scannable QR code that links to a mobile bitcoin wallet, Bitcoinke reports.

Additional security features including a door lock alarm, sensors, and a tracking system were built into the ATM.

The bitcoin ATM was built and sent to Lagos from China, making Nigeria the eighth African country to have a cryptocurrency ATM. 

Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Djibouti have one machine each while South Africa is home to seven cryptocurrency ATMs, CoinATMradar reports. Ghana also has two of the machines.

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Blockstale plans to launch other bitcoin ATMs in Lagos during 2020 — possible locations include Spar Lekki, Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria, Ikeja City Mall and Leisure Mall in Surulere, Weetracker reports.