Nigeria is home to Africa’s biggest economy, with numerous international companies looking to Lagos as a new hub to reach African consumers. This week, the capital city of Lagos also became home to the country’s first bitcoin ATM.
CEO and founder of Blockstale, a blockchain hardware and software development firm based in Lagos, Daniel Adekunle Omoshola, specifically tailored the machines for the African market. “For about three years now I have been working on the blockchain technology and BTMs (Bitcoin Teller Machines or Bitcoin ATMs) hardware, software and firmware most especially,” said Omoshola to WeeTracker in a statement. “I had my people (Africans) very much in mind since they are a little rigid when it comes to innovation and personal interaction(s) with high tech devices.”
Founded in 2017, Omoshola, along with his co-founder Adeyiga Oluseye Daniel, who currently serves as the firm’s chairman, wanted to increase the presence of bitcoin in the country with the introduction of the new machine. “The BTM had been on the ground since the first week of December 2019,” said Omoshola. “I know there is a scarcity of these machines in Nigeria, and that’s why we’re quietly filling the gap, for now.” Despite the massive popularity of bitcoin in the country, the lack of ATMs made it difficult to utilize fully. “We are really excited to welcome more tech companies into the BTM space as Blockstale has made history in Nigeria and Africa at large,” he continues. “We hope this great innovation structures our economy and opens more opportunities to our youths and other business owners,” the entrepreneur said.
Bitcoin isn’t new to the continent as other countries such as Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Ghana, and Zimbabwe all have bitcoin ATMs (also known as BTMs). It took 60 days of logistics for Omoshola and his team before the machines were constructed in Shenzhen, China, before being sent to Lagos. The Nigerian machines will not accept credit or debit cards but instead, operate through a scannable QR code that links to a mobile bitcoin wallet. Omoshola plans to expand and launch more bitcoin ATMs in Lagos within the year.