Bitcoin exchange BitX, headquartered in Singapore, has just entered the Nigerian market. Patrick Brusnahan speaks to Werner van Rooyen, head of business development and growth at BitX, to see what opportunities this move represents

BitX, currently supporting Malaysia, Indonesia, Kenya, and South Africa, has expanded its bitcoin wallet, exchange and API services to Nigeria.

This allows Nigerian consumers the ability to buy and sell bitcoin instantly using the BitX Android or iOS apps, as well as using the API to develop their own Bitcoin products and services.

Speaking to EPI, van Rooyen said: "Nigeria is Africa’s largest consumer market with a lot of healthy growth and an economically active middle-class and we’ve had an enormous amount of interest from local business and consumers to enter the market. There’s a lot of opportunity for us to enable people to transact online for the first time, to do so cheaper and faster than with other methods, facilitate small payments and also to help reduce online fraud."

While Bitcoin is still a fairly new development in the financial world, BitX already has a system in place to measure its success in Nigeria.

van Rooyen said: "We tend to measure success in both a qualitative and quantitative way; the former around building communities and increasing general awareness, interest, and knowledge of Bitcoin (not only for consumers, but other stakeholders like regulators, investors and businesses). The latter will be measured in terms of how many people actively transact using Bitcoin."

As well as the sheer size of the Nigerian market supporting it, van Rooyen believes that their range of products will also allow BitX to attract more consumers than other Bitcoin exchanges. He hopes to attract more than just the ‘younger, tech-savvy early adopters’.

He says: "Our target market is perhaps larger than for most other Bitcoin companies. We have the leading bitcoin smartwallet application where consumers can buy, sell, store and spend their bitcoins. We have a modern trading platform where individuals and professional traders can trade between Nigerian naira and bitcoin. Lastly, our powerful API allows local businesses and developers to integrate bitcoin into their products and services."

BitX has no plans of slowing down. While it supports only five countries, transactions can be made all across the globe.

van Rooyen concludes: "There are plans to expand into other African countries and new regions. The timing and specific countries will depend to some extent on the local demand for our products and services, but we tend to have pretty good visibility on this given our customers can already use our mobile smartwallet for Bitcoin-only transactions in any country in the world."