In February 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a circular to deposit money banks (DMB), non-bank financial institutions (NBFI), and other financial institutions (OFI) to close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions within their systems. The apex bank further warned local financial institutions against dealing in crypto-assets or facilitating payments for crypto exchanges. It cited concerns over money laundering, terrorism financing, cybercrime, and the volatility of cryptocurrency. Although the regulation received backlash from the populace, that was the beginning of difficulties in transacting in cryptocurrency in Nigeria.
Few months earlier, conveners of the massive #EndSARS protests had significantly used the digital method of transacting to receive donations, as the government was cracking down on accounts with even a little bit of association with the form of payment. Since then, several laws had come into effect, the latest being the government’s surprising turn in the introduction of taxation on cryptocurrency. On December 2, 2022, Zainab Ahmed, former minister of finance, budget and national planning, had said that there was a provision to tax cryptocurrency and other digital assets in the latest finance bill. Former President Buhari signed it into law on May 28, 2023.
A new opportunity for cross-border transactions unleashed.
Customers of a cross-border payments startup, Changera, especially those in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Canada, can now execute cash-to-crypto deposits and withdrawals. The firm disclosed this in a statement. According to the firm, it was made possible through its partnership with a global leader in digital peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, MoneyGram. It said that direct cash deposits and withdrawals are a major step forward for its customers, who can now access their funds swiftly and securely without the limitations previously experienced.
According to the organization, this feature further emphasizes its commitment to advancing financial inclusion for the excluded, unserved and underserved regions in Africa and to ensuring that everyone has equal access to the benefits of the digital economy. In several parts of Africa, cross-border trades are usually stalled because of the difficulties in the mode of transaction. A number of financial technology applications have risen to the occasion. Changera is one of the latest cross-border payment platforms to enable this.
Funding Changera wallets is now simplified for users.
As well, the firm noted that users in Canada, Senegal, Uganda and Kenya will enjoy reduced costs and faster transactions when cashing in at MoneyGram agents closest to their locations into their Changera Wallets. Withdrawals are available to existing and new customers globally. The chief executive officer of Changera, Ruth Iselema, said that the primary objective of this integration is to simplify the process of funding Changera wallets for users. “Our solution is coming very timely because 1.4 billion people currently don’t have bank accounts globally,” she said.
That is approximately a quarter of the world’s population. Also, 60 percent of adults worldwide work in the cash economy despite access to digital wallets. She said that MoneyGram’s extensive network of agents will allow easier deposit and cash transfers in these regions, and recipients will have unparalleled access to cash out their funds conveniently. It was the first collaboration of its kind between MoneyGram and a fintech company in Africa, outside of traditional banking institutions. Iselema said that the firm was proud to be pioneers of such.
Revolutionizing how Africans engage with digital wallets.
Commenting on the new milestone, chief technology officer of Changera, Mr. Umar Adamu, said, “We are thrilled that our goal to enable businesses and individuals to move money freely globally is coming to fruition through this integration with a global leader in cross-border money transfers and payment service MoneyGram.” He said that the firm was revolutionizing the way Africans engage with digital wallets by providing them with unparalleled convenience and accessibility as they “on/off ramp with USDC over the Stellar network” on the platform. Changera was founded in 2021 with the business objectives of enabling seamless and secure cross-border payments and remittances for its users.