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Do 32% of Nigerians own bitcoin as Twitter CEO claimed?

Photo Credit: NewsBTC 4 mins read

Claim: Jack Dorsey, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Twitter, the microblogging platform, recently tweeted that 32% of Nigerians own Bitcoin.

This piece of information is false. Jack quoted the result of an online poll which only surveyed about 1000-4000 respondents from Nigeria which cannot be used for generalisation.

Full Text 

On August 14, Dorsey took to his handle and wrote: “Wow: ‘32 percent of Nigerians own Bitcoin, the highest percentage in the world…” with a Nigerian flag attached. 

Screenshot of Dorsey’s quote had been lifted from a report by an author Samantha Messing on Medium. The link to the post was also attached to the post. 

The author, in an obvious rebuttal to the stance of United States Senator to Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, on the new currency, wrote a letter to the Senator titled, ‘Why Progressives Should Love Bitcoin: An Open Letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren.’

Messing had highlighted instances where Warren expressed concerns over the perceived unlawfulness of the new currency. 

Warren, a longtime bitcoin sceptic, had once said cryptocurrency is powered by a “shadowy faceless group of super coders.”

She had also described it as a “scam,” a “bogus private digital money,” “highly opaque,” and “built to assist criminals“. 

Warren recently urged Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to identify and remedy risks posed by cryptocurrencies and to craft a “comprehensive and coordinated” framework through which federal agencies can continually regulate virtual coins.

Messing argued that rather than Warren’s perception, Bitcoin is the most democratised form of money ever created, highlighting the benefits such as a fixed and predetermined monetary policy; a decentralised, transparent, democratic network. 

While further buttressing her argument, she quoted the outcome of a survey by Statista, a popular database company saying, “…32 percent of Nigerians own Bitcoin, the highest percentage in the world…”

Jack had obviously lifted this part of the article and shared it on his platform generating over 4, 000 retweets and about 19, 000 likes as of the time of this report.

The Twitter CEO has remained consistent in his support for the Bitcoin revolution among Nigerians and was one of the campaigners for the use of cryptocurrency during the #EndSars protests.

Verdict

Dubawa ran a keyword search on google and found out the claim that 32 percent of Nigerians use bitcoin had been misquoted from the outcome of a survey by Statista, an online portal that provides data on the global digital economy, industrial sectors, consumer markets, public opinion, media, demography, macroeconomic trends among others. 

The Statista Global Consumer Survey 2020 selected respondents from 74 countries and Nigerian respondents were the most likely to say they used or owned cryptocurrency.

Image of the survey outcome by Statista

Nigeria ranked 32% higher than some citizens from countries even within the G7 with the United States, Germany and Japan with 6%, 5% and 4% respectively. 

However, it was explicitly stated that respondents from each country were just about 1,000 to 4, 000. 

Meanwhile, Triple A, a Singapore financial company, noted that there are over 300 million crypto users worldwide with 13 million of them in Nigeria representing just 6.31% of the over 200 million population of the country. 

Screenshot from Triple A report

Researchers can generalise if they meet up with a certain number of the sample size. 

According to Worldometer, Nigeria currently has an estimated population of over 212,000,000 people. This means that using a meagre 1000 — 4000 respondents from Nigeria cannot be generalised.

Statista might have factors considered before arriving at a sample size but this is not enough to say 32 percent of Nigerians own Bitcoin. This number might be lesser or even more.

This report has been quoted several times in the past by different media houses including BBC Africa, Coin Desk and here. These reports have adequately confirmed that the figure represented the respondents of the survey, unlike Messing whom Jack quoted. 

Conclusion

It cannot be authoritatively said that 32 percent of Nigerians own Bitcoin. Rather, 32 percent of Nigerians who partook in the survey conducted by Statista own or use Bitcoin. 

The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with SaharaReporters to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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