This is how to open a bitcoin account in Nigeria
A digital wallet is often referred to as a digital bank account, and as such, some people often ask about how they could open a bitcoin account in Nigeria. In this post, you'll learn about the different options available to create a bitcoin account, how to fund the account and how to protect your bitcoins.
Bitcoin is one of the many cryptocurrencies, but the biggest. Bitcoin can be sent, received and managed with a digital wallet. Besides the blockchain, the wallet is one of the basic feature of the digital economy, so understanding how a bitcoin wallet work is essential to participating in this economy.
To know how Bitcoin came to be and other technical details, please read this previous post that dives deep into them.
What is a bitcoin wallet?
In basic terms, a bitcoin wallet is a service either online or offline that stores the private key for the bitcoins in your possession. Should your wallet ever become inaccessible, the private key would be out-of-reach, which makes your bitcoins unspendable. That's one of the significant differences between a bitcoin wallet and your traditional bank account.
These wallets can exist on physical devices, as software on a personal computer, on a cryptocurrency exchange or on a paper (a printout of both your public and private keys; the coins will still exist on the blockchain).
Now, to open a bitcoin account, you have to sign up for an account with a bitcoin wallet provider. Some online exchanges, including Guava Exchange, automatically create wallets for new user accounts on the platform. All you have to do is load the wallet with bitcoin. However, there are other flexible and free non-exchange options too.
Bitcoin wallet providers available to Nigerians
Some of the companies that provide wallet services to Nigerians include:
The Guava wallet has a simple design that allows you to keep tabs on all transactions in and out of your wallet. By clicking on the wallet, you can easily see the historical view of transactions on the right panel of the page. With the Guava wallet, you don't have to worry about losing your private keys or setting up security procedures to safeguard your coin. You also have access to the easiest and fastest way to buy bitcoin in Nigeria through the Guava Exchange.
Luno is a South African-based exchange that operates in Nigeria that provides a wallet to store your bitcoins. When you sign up as a user with Luno, you'll be assigned a Bitcoin wallet address. Bitcoins sent to this address are added to your Luno account.
This company is one of the oldest Bitcoin wallet providers. Headquartered in Luxembourg but everyone around the world can sign up for their free bitcoin wallet.
Note that you cannot buy or sell bitcoin on Blockchain.info. It only affords you the ability to send and receive bitcoins.
The Ledger Nano S is a USB hardware wallet. It's portable and provides the ability to store your bitcoins offline. It's useful if you have a large portion of bitcoin that you intend to save for a long time. The product currently retails for above 25, 000 Naira.
How to fund your bitcoin account
The easiest, secure way to fund your bitcoin account is through an online exchange. Using an exchange is as easy as operating an online bank account.
We'll use a Guava user account to explain the process of funding your bitcoin account. The following process is quite similar for other exchanges too.
Account sign up
Go to guava.africa and sign up as a user. You'll be made to fill a form and go through a simple verification process. Make sure you have a phone number and an email address that you can easily access to go through this process successfully.
Login to your account
After opening a Guava account and logging into it, you'll observe a tab called "Wallets" on your left. Click on it, and you will see the wallets available for use, including your Naira and Bitcoin wallet.
Now, you can create a bitcoin wallet address to receive bitcoin from someone, purchase bitcoin from any online merchant and send them to Guava bitcoin wallet, or you could fund your Naira wallet to buy some bitcoins on the Guava Exchange.
Deposit Naira to your account
Through a simple cash deposit or bank transfer to Guava, your Naira account is credited within a few minutes. You can then go to the "Buy & Sell" or "Trade" tab to buy some bitcoins.
Receiving bitcoins using a public address
A bitcoin wallet address is a unique 26-35 digit combination of letters and numbers which looks something like this: 3ADQRajN5x1hxaHXZu6hjqxvjSd9zv9tL5
To receive bitcoin from others, you’ll share this address with them. The bitcoin wallet address could also be a QR code. There are wallet applications that enables you to scan the code. You should create a new address whenever you want to receive bitcoins.
Sending bitcoin using a private key
This cryptographic key is used to prove you are the owner of the bitcoin address and allows you to send bitcoin from your address. Anyone with your private key will be able to access your cryptocurrency address to send your coins out to another address, which is why it must be kept safe. Also, that is why it's important to choose a secure and trusted wallet service.
Note that online exchanges that provide wallet services do not require you to provide a private key whenever you want to sell or send your bitcoin to someone else. They will only request for your user account password. When you want to send bitcoins all you have to do is request for the receiver's bitcoin wallet address.
Proper wallet management
1. Protect your password
If you had created a bitcoin account with an exchange or an online wallet provider, the critical thing is ensuring you have a strong password that no one else can guess or access easily.
2. Secure your private keys
In the case where you use a wallet provider that gives you access to your private keys, it's important to store your key somewhere safe offline to protect from online hackers.
3. Inform a next of kin about your wallet details
Inform appropriate individuals about how to access your wallet in the case of your incapacitation or death. That is important because without your passwords or private keys no one will be able to access your investment.
The whole process of creating a bitcoin account and storing your bitcoins could be a bit daunting at first, but it's quite straightforward after going through this process a couple of times. The most crucial part of it all is ensuring you choose a trusted wallet provider that can guarantee that your private key is secured at all time.