The fast-growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies as a means of payments, money transfers and investment vehicles in Nigeria and other emerging economies has started having a direct impact on diaspora remittance, according to the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON).
In its Quarterly Economic Review for the first quarter of 2020, ABCON urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to introduce measures that will counter the advantages of cryptocurrencies as a channel for diaspora remittances.
This, the association said “It is noteworthy that public acceptability for cryptocurrency exchanges are rising which could be quite accountable for the wide drop in diaspora inflows to Nigeria. Insecurity in the country is giving it greater prominence as investors and citizens are finding cryptocurrency a safe haven for their wealth in case of any eventuality.”
Bitcoin transfers surged in 2020, according to ABCON. The association attributed this to the COVID-19 pandemic that exposed cheaper and more efficient digital remittance services.
“Migrants sending money across borders to their families prefer the minimal transaction costs of cryptocurrency exchanges against the exorbitant costs of traditional money transfer companies like Western Union.
“These exchanges override the political complications of official channels.The global reach of cryptocurrencies avoids the inflation risk inherent to official currencies, especially in politically unstable countries reliant on fickle foreign investors.
“Thus, while we commend the efforts of CBN in introducing the package of Five Naira for One Dollar transfer, it can be seen from the analysis above that the challenges exceed just non-payment of foreign currency by the International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) and the exchange rate.
“Strategies that satisfy the most sensitive of these advantages of cryptocurrency exchanges must be introduced to redirect flows to the official channel,” it said.
The Central Bank of Nigeria banned banks from facilitating cryptocurrency payments and exchanges in an attempt to discourage people from the largely unregulated fast growing crypto space.
A position the apex bank clarified a week later following the criticism that trailed the decision.
While the apex bank later said Nigerians can trade cryptocurrencies but banks can be tools for such unregulated industry, many Nigerians continue to dump their money on several unproven cryptocurrency projects.
Bitcoin Breaks $40,000 Price Levels Amidst Optimism and Regulatory Developments
Bitcoin on Monday broke $40,000 resistance levels following a 2.9% surge in price to $40,867 per coin.
The world’s largest digital currency has now appreciated by 146% in 2023 as more institutional investors continue to increase their investments in the unregulated cryptocurrency space.
Investors are exhibiting growing confidence in the Federal Reserve’s apparent conclusion of rate hikes amid a cooling inflation backdrop.
This shift in sentiment has redirected attention to the anticipated extent of rate cuts in the coming year, prompting a rally across global markets.
The cryptocurrency industry is currently in anticipation as regulatory decisions, particularly regarding applications for the first US spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), hang in the balance.
Bloomberg Intelligence anticipates the approval of a batch of these ETFs by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) by January.
“Bitcoin continues to be supported by optimism around SEC approval for an ETF and Fed rate cuts in 2024,” noted Tony Sycamore, a market analyst at IG Australia Pty.
Technical analysis points to $42,330 as the next significant level to monitor in Bitcoin’s upward trajectory.
Despite recent crackdowns in the industry, including legal actions against figures like Sam Bankman-Fried and Binance, Bitcoin has proven resilient.
Optimists argue that these regulatory measures, alongside the potential approval of ETFs, signify the maturation of the crypto industry and the prospect of a broader investor base.
According to Su Yen Chia, co-founder of the Asia Crypto Alliance, recent enforcement actions “have instilled confidence among investors,” noting that Bitcoin is aligning with momentum in traditional finance as expectations of Fed rate hikes fade.
MicroStrategy Chairman Michael Saylor Bolsters Bitcoin Bet with $593.3 Million Purchase
Michael Saylor, chairman and co-founder of MicroStrategy Inc., has intensified his commitment to Bitcoin with a substantial investment of $593.3 million, expanding the enterprise-software company’s cryptocurrency holdings.
In a filing on Thursday, MicroStrategy revealed the acquisition of 16,130 Bitcoins in November, elevating its total holdings to approximately $6.5 billion.
This move represents Saylor’s most significant purchase since the acquisition of 19,452 Bitcoins for just over $1 billion in February 2021.
Saylor initiated MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin investments in 2020 and has accelerated these efforts throughout 2023, aligning the company with the cryptocurrency’s resurgence after a challenging period marked by rising interest rates and notable crypto-related incidents.
Stepping down from the CEO position a year ago, Saylor emphasized his focus on advancing MicroStrategy’s dual strategy with a primary emphasis on Bitcoin.
MicroStrategy’s stock has witnessed a remarkable 250% surge this year, surpassing Bitcoin’s 125% rally.
The optimism stems from the anticipation of potential approval for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the United States.
Contrary to concerns that an ETF approval might diminish demand for MicroStrategy’s stock, analysts like Matthew J. Maley, Chief Market Strategist at Miller Tabak + Co., suggest that an ETF could enhance interest in the asset class without significant cannibalization.
In conjunction with its Bitcoin investment, MicroStrategy entered into an agreement with Cowen and Company, Canaccord Genuity, and BTIG to offer up to $750 million of common stock.
The initial announcement of this stock offering in August outlined intentions to utilize the proceeds for Bitcoin purchases, working capital, and debt repurchases.
Coinbase’s November Surge Sparks Investor Enthusiasm Amid Crypto Volatility
Coinbase Global Inc. has witnessed a 62% surge in its shares this month, capturing the attention of investors amidst the current volatility in the cryptocurrency landscape.
While FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried faces a fraud conviction, and Binance navigates regulatory scrutiny, traders are flocking to Coinbase, betting on increased business, especially if authorities greenlight Bitcoin-focused exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
This surge, adding $12 billion to Coinbase’s market value in November alone, marks a significant turnaround for the largest US crypto exchange.
The stock has more than tripled in 2023, defying the broader market trends and eclipsing the average analyst price target of approximately $84.
“Coinbase is in a better position today than really any other point as a public company,” notes Needham & Co. analyst John Todaro.
He sees 2022 and 2023 as pivotal years, weeding out weaker players in the industry. “Those who survived are going to come out of that stronger. And Coinbase is one that survived.”
The optimism surrounding Coinbase is fueled by regulatory clarity and the potential approval of US-listed Bitcoin ETFs, expected as early as January, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Bitcoin’s nearly 130% surge in 2023 adds to this positive outlook.
Investors who bet against Coinbase shares have faced losses of $1.3 billion in the past 30 days, as the company overcame losses reported for seven consecutive quarters.
While competitors face legal challenges, the resolution of Binance’s dispute with the US Department of Justice is seen as a positive for Coinbase.
“A healthy development for the industry is positive for Coinbase, and an abrupt exit of large players is not,” highlights Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Owen Lau. The settlement with Binance is expected to uphold higher compliance standards for crypto exchanges.
Despite this surge, maintaining momentum remains uncertain, with over 40% of Wall Street analysts holding a hold-equivalent rating for Coinbase.
Notably, Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management LLC, although reducing its Coinbase holdings, remains the fourth-largest shareholder, emphasizing a cautiously optimistic stance in the crypto space.
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