How cryptocurrency will shape the 2023 elections in Nigeria

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Barring any last-minute change by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerians will head to the polls next February to elect a new leader, with incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari expected to bow out of office in May 2023.

Jostling for the nation’s top job are 18 candidates, three of whom are considered the key contenders: Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party’s Peter Obi, whose candidacy has found a home in the hearts of the country’s young people who prides themselves as Obidients.

A recent poll tipped the third wheeler to win the election.

When cryptocurrency meets politics

That cryptocurrency has transformed the global monetary exchange systems is a no-brainer. According to a recent report, the volume of cryptocurrency transactions grew to $15.8trn in 2021, up 567% from 2020.

But, the growth of cryptocurrency hasn’t particularly been a smooth ride.

The problem of regulatory pushbacks still exists in several countries across the globe. For instance, in February 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria placed a restriction on cryptocurrency transactions in the country, claiming that digital currency is used for money laundering and terrorism.

United Kingdom(UK) crypto

As cryptocurrency becomes more and more mainstream, it has also crept into the corridors of politics, leading to a rise in political donations in form of digital currencies.

For instance, a Florida House candidate is accepting cryptocurrency campaign donations ahead of this year’s mid-term elections in the United States. California Congressional candidate Aarika Rhodes, according to The Washington Post, has raised more than $30,000 in crypto.

However, there are growing concerns about the untraceable nature of cryptocurrency. Just recently, the government of California repealed a law that banned political candidates from accepting donations in cryptocurrency.

This move, isn’t sufficient, according to experts who believe that crypto will change the face of political donations globally.

Read also: It is the season of politics and we are witnessing a rise of audio influencers again.

Cryptocurrency and 2023 elections in Nigeria

In Nigeria, the political season usually comes with a number of interesting developments. Supporters often do not-too-common things to express their belief in their preferred candidates.

For instance, in 2015, a man trekked from Gombe to Abuja to celebrate President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the year’s election. Just recently, a teenager donated her life savings to support the campaign of the youth-backed Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, ahead of the 2023 polls.

Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi.

On Friday, Nairametrics reported that a Nigerian artist, Chuma Anagbodo has created an artwork of Obi which will be sold on the Ethereum blockchain and 99% of the proceeds will be donated to support his presidential bid.

“Nigerian youths, in particular, found their hope in the person of Mr Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of a rather obscure Labour Party that has quickly risen to become the prophesied 3rd force. His consistent messaging and engagement with the youth population over the years seem to have struck patriotic cords,” he told Nairametrics.

This isn’t the first time Nigerian young people would be adopting cryptocurrency for a national cause. In the wake of the #EndSARS protests of October 2020, a youth-led campaign against police brutality in Nigeria, donations were accepted through bitcoin, the world’s most prominent cryptocurrency.

The Nigerian authorities, of course, kicked, insisting that cryptocurrency could be used to fund the insurgency in the Northern part of Nigeria.

But for the young and Internet-savvy Nigerians, cryptocurrency offers the opportunity to bypass the troubles of the government-controlled traditional monetary systems.

Basking with energy and a strong desire to change the country — which Peter Obi represents in their view — it will be no surprise if cryptocurrency is again embraced for political donations to make the Obi presidency a reality come 2023.

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