The ongoing cryptocurrency winter is not stopping the industry from pushing towards global adoption and accessibility. A new partnership between CoinCorner and Bitnob allows users across continents to conduct cross-border transactions involving multiple fiat currencies.
Transferring money between Europe and Africa usually requires an offshore intermediary such as Western Union, which relies on centralized entities. These transactions often require the approval of multiple parties, which increases processing times and fees. The World Bank estimates that remittances to sub-Saharan Africa amount to more than $40 billion annually as of 2020, with Nigeria receiving about half of that amount.
Now, users can transfer money via the Bitcoin Lightning Network from the UK and Europe to select African countries. Send Globally allows converting British Pounds or Euros into Nigerian Nigerian Shillings, Kenyan Shillings and Ghanaian Cedis.
The Lightning Network first transfers money into Bitcoin
, then into the local currency of the receiving country, and deposit the money directly into the recipient’s bank account or mobile phone financial 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. Additionally, the World Bank reports that last year, sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 14.1% of global remittances.
However, nearly 80% of African countries restrict the type of institutions that can offer remittance-related services to local banks. This uniqueness creates barriers to entry for 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.
A recent report by Chainalysis revealed that the Middle East and North Africa region is the fastest growing worldwide.
In September, the Nigerian government held meetings with Binance to negotiate a special economic zone to support crypto and blockchain businesses in the region.
A subsequent report from Chainalysis also highlighted Ghana’s position in the cryptocurrency space. She said the country could catch up with Nigeria and Kenya in adopting cryptocurrency.