The Bitcoin (BTC) price in Nigeria has soared well above market levels amid continued efforts by the central bank to push its citizens towards digitized cash.
At the time of writing, the price of 1 BTC on the Nigerian NairaEX crypto exchange is currently 17.8 million Naira, which is equivalent to a whopping $38,792.
This represents a premium of more than 60% over the current market price of Bitcoin, which is around $23,700 as of this writing.
It comes as the Central Bank of Nigeria has continued to impose limits on ATM cash withdrawals amid an ongoing effort to accelerate its shift to a cashless society.
#Bitcoin it’s hope‼️
BREAKING: Bitcoin is selling for a 60% premium in Nigeria ($37,235) due to increased demand.
The Central Bank of Nigeria began limiting cash withdrawals to $44 per day earlier this month.
Now leads the world in Google searches for “Buy #Bitcoin ” pic.twitter.com/SI861WUhVy
— SHIB Bezos (@BezosCrypto) January 29, 2023
Earlier this month, the central bank imposed a limit on cash withdrawals following a December announcement.
As of January 9, citizens could only withdraw a maximum of 20,000 NGN (about $43.50) from ATMs per day with a limit of 100,000 NGN (about $217).
The move also came just days before new Naira notes came into circulation with the aim of curbing inflation and money laundering. The central bank has set a January 24 deadline for Nigerians to exchange their old, higher-denomination banknotes for the new currency.
However, people suffered long lines amid complaints that there was not enough time to meet the deadline. The central bank has now extended that deadline to February 10 according to reports on January 29.
It is not the first time that the Bitcoin premium has risen in Nigeria. In February 2021, the central bank banned regulated financial institutions from servicing cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. This drove the BTC premium up to 36% at the time.
Related: Nigeria Prepares to Pass Bill Recognizing Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies
Recent interest in Bitcoin has also seen Nigeria become the leading country for Bitcoin web searches, according to Google Trends.
JUST IN: Nigeria’s central bank introduces new cash withdrawal limits (20,000 naira ~ $44 per day) and announced that all old naira notes will be worthless at the end of January.
Nigeria Leads the „How to Buy #Bitcoinsearch the whole world pic.twitter.com/O26si2nHde
— Carl ₿ MENGER ⚡️ (@CarlBMenger) January 18, 2023
Additionally, on January 26, Reuters reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria has launched a domestic card scheme to rival foreign cards such as MasterCard and Visa.
The “AfriGo” card scheme was designed to give Nigerians better access to bank card services and circumvent often expensive foreign card fees and exchange costs.