The ongoing cryptocurrency winter is not stopping the industry from pushing towards global adoption and accessibility. A new partnership between CoinCorner and Bitnob opens the way for users across continents to conduct cross-border transactions involving multiple fiat currencies.
Transferring money between Europe and Africa usually requires a third party intermediary such as Western Union, which relies on centralized entities. These transactions often have multiple party processing times before approval and are known for their exorbitant discounts. The World Bank estimates that remittances to sub-Saharan Africa have risen by more than $40 billion annually as of 2020 — with Nigeria taking nearly half of the amount alone.
Now, users can transfer money via Bitcoin
Lightning Network from the UK and Europe to select countries in Africa. The application, Send Globally, allows conversion of British Pounds (GBP) or Euros (EUR) into the local currencies of Nigeria (NGN), Kenya (KES) and Ghana (GHS).
Through the Lightning Network, funds are automatically converted into BTC, then instantly converted into local currency and deposited directly into the recipient’s bank account or mobile money wallet.
Sending remittances to Africa, especially from the UK and Europe, is known for its high cost. Source: International Fund for Agricultural Development
CoinCorner CEO Danny Scott said that the remittance market is a great opportunity to highlight the utility of BTC.
“The borderless nature of Bitcoin has always made it a great tool for sending money around the world, but now with the Lightning Network, sending Bitcoin is instant and extremely low-cost.”
In 2021, data from Statista placed Nigeria in the top 10 countries for remittance payments. In addition, last year the World Bank reported that Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 14.1% of global remittances.
However, nearly 80% of African countries restrict the type of institutions that are able to provide remittance-related services to local banks. This exclusivity creates barriers to entry, and thus, access to finance for the people who need it most.
Related: Remittances are driving ‘asymmetric, but rapid’ crypto adoption in Latin America
The ubiquity of cryptocurrencies in Africa has been a hot topic in the space, as the continent teems with emerging economies and practical use cases.
Especially in North Africa, the growth of the cryptocurrency industry continues to grow. A report by Chainalysis revealed that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is the fastest growing in the world.
In September, the Nigerian government held meetings with Binance to potentially negotiate a special economic zone to support crypto and blockchain businesses in the region.
A subsequent report from Chainalysis also highlighted Ghana’s rise to prominence in the crypto space. She said the country could catch up with Nigeria and Kenya in terms of cryptocurrency adoption.