Luno Moves to Deepen Nigeria’s Cryptocurrency Market


    Emma Okonji

    Luno, one of the leading global exchanges with presence in over 40 countries, including Nigeria, has reiterated its commitment to further enlighten Nigerians on the benefits of cryptocurrency business, while calling on Nigerians to adopt a knowledge-driven approach towards its services, which it said were genuine and rewarding.

    Worried about the limited knowledge of the cryptocurrency business and how it works, Luno said cryptocurrency market in Nigeria made headlines globally in 2017 when it twice emerged second as the country that searched for bitcoin the most on Google, and peer-to-peer transactions in digital currency globally.

    Since then a lot of investments and investors have come into the market leading to intensified scrutiny of the space by financial regulators.

    The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which is responsible for regulating instruments like cryptocurrencies, said it is presently studying the market to enable it come up with a regulatory framework that would protect every player. In the meantime, it continues to warn the financial institutions to stay away until there is a policy for the market.

    While the CBN position has not affected demand in the market it may have contributed to poor knowledge of consumers as many transact for the profit and not necessarily because they understand.

    Addressing the media on the importance of cryptocurrency at a recent press conference in Lagos, Luno’s country manager in Nigeria, Owenize Odia, said: “We welcome regulation of the cryptocurrency space in Nigeria. It is good for the entire market around the world, as it will build trust in both buyers and investors. We know it would eventually come, hence we self-regulate in order to protect our customers.”

    Odia said that cryptocurrency education would also benefit the market because it would ensure people approach it with a knowledge driven mindset. Regulation will also reinforce collaboration in the space, as banks will be free to partner with exchanges and other stakeholders for growth of the market.

    It would also go a long way to reduce increasing incidences of cyber criminality involving cryptocurrencies, Odia said.

    Recently, the market has been awashed with reports of consumers falling victims to internet scams that could have been avoided, had the victims been better equipped with the right information.

    “This is what sets us apart as a virtual currency platform. Apart from providing our users with two-factor authentication (2FA) which ensures they are protected, we also take out time to educate them about how to avoid scams,” Odia explained.

    According to him, “There are four different levels of verifications Luno has put in place to protect its varied income-level customers.”

    The company which recently reached a milestone of two million customers globally, is planning some programs targeted at its user-base in Nigeria. The programs are expected to be announced soon.