Bitcoin hits eight-month high at $45,000

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Bitcoin galloped past $45,000 on Tuesday, for the first time since April 2022, as the world’s biggest cryptocurrency started the new year on a strong note.

The cryptocurrency gained 156 per cent last year in its strongest yearly performance since 2020. It was last up 2.5 per cent at $45,318 but remains far off the record high of $69,000 it touched in November 2021.

The no. 2 cryptocurrency Ether was 1.2 per cent higher at $2,386.50 on Tuesday, having surged 91 per cent in 2023.

Crypto stocks, which mirror bitcoin price moves, surged, with Riot Platforms, Marathon Digital and CleanSpark gaining between 7 per cent and 10 per cent after sharp falls on the last trading day of 2023.

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Nigeria’s cryptocurrency usage remains the highest in Africa, and the country is now among the most developed in terms of crypto adoption. 

The Central Bank of Nigeria recently lifted the ban on transacting in cryptocurrencies, marking a significant shift in its stance on digital currencies.

The ban, which was implemented in February 2021, prohibited banks and financial institutions from dealing in or facilitating transactions in crypto assets.

The CBN’s latest circular, issued on December 22, 2023, outlines guidelines for banks and financial institutions regarding the opening of accounts, settlement services, and acting as channels for foreign exchange inflows and trade for firms transacting in crypto assets.

Despite the previous regulatory limitations, Nigeria’s crypto market has continued to grow, with the country’s volume of crypto transactions increasing by 9 per cent year-over-year to $56.7bn between July 2022 and June 2023.

Nigeria’s volume of crypto transactions grew 9 per cent year-over-year to $56.7bn between July 2022 and June 2023, New York-based blockchain research firm Chainalysis said in a report.

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