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Over ten days now, protesters have taken to the streets of major cities in Nigeria to protest against the brutality of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and extra-judicial killings by police officers.
Read Also: #EndSARS: Tinubu Finally Speaks Out
A major part of these protests has been fundraising campaigns by organizations to support activities around the protest.
Fundraisers and donors hit a roadblock a few days into the ongoing protests as bank accounts got suspended, and donation links were deactivated.
Protesters quickly moved to receive donations in bitcoin to prevent potential censorship.
Why use Bitcoin during a protest?
Beyond the obvious facts that bitcoin is very popular in Nigeria, and there was a need for an alternative,
there are intrinsic features of bitcoin that makes it a perfect fit for times like this.
Bitcoin is decentralized and cannot be censored. Unlike traditional currencies issued by central governments and banks,
bitcoin is not managed by an individual or single group. This makes it impossible to stop people from transacting and using digital currency.
Since a single individual does not control bitcoin, people can receive payments all over the world without the need for permission.
In situations where companies operating cryptocurrency exchanges are asked to shut down, people can still exchange their bitcoin for local currencies
in a peer-to-peer (P2P) way. P2P transactions only require two people with no middle man to agree on the terms of the exchange and complete the
What’s more, bitcoin allows users to send and receive money anonymously.
Unlike banks and fintech apps that require users to submit details about their identity, bitcoin can be used without tying your identity to your accounts.
Even though some bitcoin apps require verification due to regulation, bitcoin can be used in a peer-to-peer (P2P) manner
where transactions are only between two individuals. There are several P2P platforms in Africa that make this possible.
During protests like these, some donors may not want to be identified and will prefer to donate anonymously to avoid political backlash
or consequences that may come by associating oneself to movements like these.
Bitcoin makes it easier for people to donate without a trace to their identity or organizations.
Beyond social justice movements, cryptocurrency platforms are also contributing to the protest.
African crypto startups have taken the protest a step further by providing financial aid to support protesters by giving them water, snacks,
and other tools to aid them. The companies that have participated so far include Bundle Africa, Bitsika Africa, CoinsApp Global, and Quidax Africa.
Nigeria continues to be the hottest cryptocurrency market with several companies and lots of adoption.
The use of bitcoin during these protests shows the evolution of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from just assets for speculation
to currencies with real-world use cases.