January 27, 2023

The ongoing crypto winter is not stopping the industry from pushing for global adoption and accessibility. A new partnership between CoinCorner and Bitnob opens a way for users on different continents to conduct cross-border transactions using multiple fiat currencies.

In general, the transfer of money between Europe and Africa requires a third-party facilitator, such as Western Union, which relies on centralized entities. These transactions often have multi-party processing times prior to approval and are known for costly cuts. The World Bank estimates that as of 2020, remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa exceeded $40 billion annually, with Nigeria alone receiving nearly half the amount.

Users can now transfer funds via the Bitcoin (BTC) Lightning Network from the UK and Europe to select countries in Africa. The application, Send Globally, allows transfers of British Pounds (GBP) or Euros (EUR) to the local currencies of Nigeria (NGN), Kenya (KES) and Ghana (GHS).

Through the Lightning Network, the funds are automatically converted to BTC, then immediately converted to the local currency and deposited directly into the recipient’s bank account or mobile money wallet.

Sending remittances to Africa, especially from the UK and Europe, is known for its high fees. Source: IFAD

Danny Scott, CoinCorner’s CEO, said the remittance market is a great opportunity to highlight BTC’s usefulness.

“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 very cheap.”

In 2021, data from Statista placed Nigeria in the top 10 countries for remittances. In addition, the World Bank reported that in the past year, Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 14.1% of global remittances.

However, nearly 80% of African countries restrict the types of institutions that local banks can offer remittance-related services. Such exclusivity creates barriers to entry, so access to finance for the people who need it most.

Related: Remittances are driving “uneven, but fast” cryptocurrency adoption in Latin America

The prevalence of cryptocurrencies in Africa is a hot topic in the space as the continent is full of emerging economies and practical use cases.

Particularly in North Africa, growth in the crypto industry continues to grow. A report from Chainalysis found that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is the fastest growing region in the world.

In September, the Nigerian government held meetings with Binance to potentially negotiate a special economic zone set up to support crypto and blockchain-related businesses in the region.

A later report from Chainalysis also highlighted Ghana’s rise to prominence in the crypto space. It said the country could potentially overtake Nigeria and Kenya in crypto adoption.