Growth Blog: How Nigeria is voluntarily adopting nano
Back in May 2022, we laid out our approach to grassroots community building in Nigeria and explained how multiple macro factors made it fertile soil for nano. In August 2022, we built upon that argument and predicted that Nigeria would become the first country with widespread usage of cryptocurrency and specifically nano. Over the course of the past 8 months, nano has been spreading rapidly in Nigeria. In this article, we’ll give you context, a lay of the land of progress, the underlying dynamics and the outlook for the rest of 2023.
The currency crisis accelerated
The Nigerian Naira has a long history of inflation. To quote the president of ABCON: “People are losing confidence in the value of the naira because of depreciation, nobody wants to keep naira. Before you know it, inflation is about 16.5 percent and the naira is losing value. So, the best thing any rational human being will do is to do currency subscription. We are seeing speculation; we are seeing hoarding. You don’t need money now, but you are scared that if you don’t buy now, in the next six months, it may be N800. So, this is the issue.”
This loss in confidence has been further accelerated by the attempt by the Nigerian government to force citizens to use the newly formed e-Naira. Nigeria is largely a cash economy, so to accelerate the shift, the government introduced new Naira bank notes and forced their citizens to turn in their old bank notes before a certain date. When people tried to do this, they found there was no cash: “No ATM are giving money. I went to 10 banks, there are no new notes,” said Okwori to Al Jazeera, who wonders how he will manage to buy food for the day.
How to conceptualise adoption
Nano is a network of people that is brought together by technology and a set of beliefs. The economic transactions between the network participants is the true value. Increasing this over time is what adoption of nano looks like. The current status is that a couple of hundred thousand people transact in nano for some things and a subset of those people transact in nano for a lot of things.
The increase in economic transactions is the recipe for adoption, but like any recipe it requires ingredients. You need a seller of goods or services. You need a buyer of goods or services. They need a digital or physical place to connect and they must meet at the same time. When all the ingredients are there, we can make the recipe.
Some of the ingredients
Against the backdrop of further decrease in confidence in the Naira, our ambassador Samuel worked relentlessly to drive awareness for nano through charitable work and education.
- Setting up nano wallets for orphanages in Nigeria
- Presenting at a religious venue
- Organising an online meetup
- Creating WeNano spots
- Localising WeNano flyers
- Interview at CoinNewsExtra
- Translating our website into Pidgin
At the same time, various new exciting startups were introduced to the network including SendNano which enabled tipping on Twitter and Persevee which enables earning nano through live streaming.
One of the recipes
The SendNano tipping feature on Twitter led Diva’s Kitchen to organise a fundraiser to feed 300 homeless people in Ibadan, Nigeria during Easter. This was very successful and led her to introduce nano to her supplier Yelam Foods. This in turn inspired various other businesses (1, 2, 3) to accept nano, SendNano to innovate its platform and various other individuals to start fundraisers (1, 2, 3). The Espada Kids Football Academy has been able to get funding for nano branded jerseys and training kits and convinced their supplier to accept nano.
People from all over the world came together at the same time on Twitter and made meaningful economic transactions powered by nano. This benefits the network because the array of possible economic transactions is increasing for its participants and the positive productive output of the transactions is driving awareness for the network.
What’s next and how to contribute?
To increase the economic activity of the network in Nigeria, we’ll need to make sure that more:
- People are aware of nano
- People are educated about nano, the networks, products and use cases
- People have access to nano through currency exchange, remittance or labour
- Businesses accept nano
- Entrepreneurs build products on nano
Any activity that contributes to this is an ingredient that can become part of a recipe. The recipes are the economic transactions that ultimately determine the true value of the network.
A couple of recent ingredients we have already observed are:
- Samuel the Nigerian nano ambassador, Abiola from Diva’s Kitchen and a Nano Foundation representative hosted a Twitter Space to educate local business owners on how to accept nano.
- Abiola from Diva’s Kitchen adding WeNano flyers to all customer orders
- Fundraiser for WeNano Day in Nigeria
- People trialling remittances through Bigeria
Any action in any of these directions, no matter how small, increases the true value of the network which ultimately compounds.
In conclusion: we can see validation that an increasing number of people in Nigeria are open to accepting nano as a currency for goods and services. We can also see that our grassroots approach is effective. The significance of this can hardly be understated. The challenge that arises now is: How to sustainably (so not only funded by generosity) drive awareness and bring nano into circulation at scale? We believe that entrepreneurship and labour are crucial answers to this question, but I’ll explore this in more detail in a later article.
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