Bitcoin Firm BitX Launches In Nigeria, Hopes To Boost Adoption

Written by Dana Sanchez

Singapore-based bitcoin services firm BitX hopes to exploit bitcoin’s potential in Africa’s largest economy with its Nigeria launch, according to a report in Bitcoinist.

The bitcoin company has been focused from its inception on emerging markets, building a cryptocurrency platform that provides products and services like bitcoin wallets, exchanges, merchant integration, and APIs to consumers, businesses, and developers.

In computer programming, an API or application programming interface is a set of protocols and tools for building software applications.

Nigeria is one of four African countries on BitX’s radar that includes Namibia, Kenya and South Africa.

BitX operates one of two South African Bitcoin exchanges and partnered with South African payment provider PayFast to provide the largest emerging-market bitcoin merchant roll-out to date, enabling over 30,000 merchants to accept Bitcoin, Bitcoinist reports.

The company faced regulatory and infrastructure issues in these markets, but hung in there. In November, BitX launched a digital Bitcoin wallet app for Android and iOS in South Africa to promote hassle-free bitcoin buying and selling.

Bitcoin expert and lawyer Terence Lee praised the simplicity of the new BitX wallet. Non-intimidating user interface is important in getting more people to adopt bitcoin, he said in November in TechInAsia.

“The Bitcoin hype has died down since the euphoric highs right around the beginning of 2014,” Lee said, “but that does not mean the work of making the digital currency mainstream has ceased. One major obstacle is that getting, securing, and using bitcoin is intimidating to non-geeks. Most consumers don’t care how a financial system works; the bottom line is that they want an easy-to-use, safe, and ubiquitous payment mode.”

The BitX bitcoin wallet could meet these consumer expectations, Lee said.

BitX in 2014 completed an $824,000 seed-funding round that included investment from Barry Silbert’s New York-based Bitcoin Opportunity Corp; Palo Alto, California-based financial innovation investor, Carol Realini; and London-based Ariadne Capital, Coindesk reported in August.

BitX CEO Marcus Swanepoel said Nigeria has a highly entrepreneurial economy. His company was “inundated with requests for Bitcoin products and services from consumers, developers, and Nigerian businesses,” Bitcoinist reports. Swanepoel said he hopes BitX’s services will boost Bitcoin adoption in Nigeria.

In addition to the four African countries, BitX is establishing operations in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Poland and Turkey.

People want to deal with customer service in their local region, Swanepoel said. Bitcoin has huge prospects in emerging and developing markets, and in the long run, local liquidity — as opposed to global liquidity — will play the most important role in this ecosystem, he said.