Over the last decade-and-a-half, Nigeria has gained notoriety for being home to cyber fraud. While this impression continues to be detrimental to the aspirations of honest and hardworking Nigerians, it has also contributed to many people casting a jaundiced glance in the direction of Bitcoin and cryptocurrenciesn general.
This situation hasn’t been aided by the fact that Bitcoin began to come into public consciousness after the debacle of the Russian Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox (MMM) scam. For the most part of 2016 and 2017, many characterized BTC as the “new MMM.”
In a private chat with cryptonews9ja, Joseph Samuel, a blockchain analyst, web designer, and team leader at “Humane Love,” a Lagos-based charity project on the EOS blockchain spoke about how some Lagosians tend to conflate and confuse Bitcoin and MMM, saying:
“Many Nigerians got to know about Bitcoin during the MMM Ponzi scam. As a result, they tend to see Bitcoin as another fraudulent investment scheme. However, with proper education, this misinformation can become a thing of the past.”
In so doing, they missed out on the massive profits gained by early adopters during the late 2017 bull rally. With BTC almost eclipsing the $20,000 mark in late 2017, having begun the year trading below $1,000, the usual opportunists came out of hiding to evince designs of fraudulent schemes centered around Bitcoin.
For Samuel, the city still has time to catch up to the rest of the world, declaring:
“Lagos is a mega city filled with some of the smartest people in the world. Unfortunately, the fear of the unknown prevents many from adopting newer technological breakthroughs. Once they become more amenable to change and realize what Bitcoin represents, Lagos will become a major hub in the developing digital economy.”
Organizations like the Cryptography Development Initiative of Nigeria (CDIN) and the Nigerian Blockchain Alliance (NBA) have been at the forefront of combating cryptocurrency scams in Lagos and other parts of the country. Together, these institutions collaborate with agencies like the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) to prevent the proliferation of Bitcoin-related criminal activity.