The volume of bitcoin has risen to N1.582 billion in November; close to the all-time high of N1.866 billion it recorded in the first week of August.
Trade in bitcoin returned to growth on the Coin.dance Index after it dropped sharply in the last week of October to N1.157 billion from N1.239 billion it recorded in the previous week.
According to Owenize Odia, Country Lead for Luno, a global bitcoin exchange with strong presence in Nigeria, the rise in volume is driven by the growth in demand.
“A lot of Nigerians have come on board and they are buying and trading their bitcoins on our platform,” Odia told BusinessDay in a telephone chat.
Bitcoin was trading at N2.698 million per dollar as at press time on the Luno platform.
The rise in the global price of bitcoin – following the announcement by CME Group, the world’s largest futures platform that it plans to list the virtual currency – has helped hype around the cryptocurrency.
On Sunday, bitcoin entered a familiar territory, accounting for over 62.7 percent of the cryptocurrency market – the second time it was crossing the 60 percent threshold. The first time was in April, 2017.
The current total market capitalisation of bitcoin also crossed over $100 billion to reach $126.5 billion of the entire $202 billion cryptocurrency market.
Ethereum – the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation failed to leverage bitcoin’s surge as it accounts for 14 percent of the total market. The highest peak for the virtual currency was reached in June when it accounted for 30 percent of the market. Since June however, Ethereum dominance has steadily fallen.
Presently, Bitcoin Cash which emerged as a result of the August 2017 fork is the third largest cryptocurrency comprising 4.9 percent of the total market capitalisation of all cryptocurrencies. It is a drop from a previous high of 8.06 percent which it set in August.
Tim Akinbo, founder of Tanjola.com told BusinessDay that speculation and growth in adoption could be responsible for the surge in Nigeria.
“I think it is mostly fear of missing out driving a lot of the speculation. The rising prices have attracted a lot more people to buy it for use as a store of value or investment,” he said.
As investors look forward with trepidation to the next bitcoin fork, SegWit2X, Akinbo said it is likely to go both ways.
“For one, it would not be advisable for bitcoin holders to do any form of transactions after the fork until it is safe to do so.
“Segwit2X may succeed and that is the problem. The reason for insecurity of doing transactions is the fact that without replay protection, a bitcoin sender may inadvertently also send SegWit2X coins unintentionally,” he said. Businessday.