Nigerian Fintech company, Patricia has announced that it has relocated its operations to the Republic of Estonia and its headquarters will now be domiciled in the Northeastern European country. According to the startup, the move is in response to the ban on crypto trading by the Nigeria Government as well as part of a global expansion plan. According to CEO and Founder, Hanu Fejiro Agbodje “What originally came as disastrous news turned out to be the cornerstone we needed for this worldwide expansion.”
He was referring to the crypto trading ban by Nigeria’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Recall that the CBN issued a circular on February 5th, 2021 directing banks and other financial institutions to desist from transacting in/and with entities trading cryptocurrencies and close their bank accounts accordingly with immediate effect. According to Hanu, the forced expansion will strengthen their relationships with marketers and agencies in the global crypto markets, whilst positioning it for leadership in Nigeria and Africa.
Founded in 2018 as Patricia.com.ng as an eCommerce platform that trades unused iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play gift cards, Patricia now offers diverse financial solutions with a presence in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and China It was announced as a co-headline sponsor for the 6th edition of BBN starting in a few weeks by show owners, Multichoice about 3 months ago. In its directory of cryptocurrency transactions, Nigeria’s apex bank indicated that “VCs such as Bitcoin, Ripples, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecion, Onecoin, etc, and similar products are not legal tenders in Nigeria, thus any bank or institution that transacts in such businesses does so at its own risk.”
The regulation caused major reactions on social media by economic and technology space analysts as well as international agencies such as the IMF. The ban forced players within the space to device new models to survive. For instance, Patricia announced a new platform, Glover Exchange as the new entity responsible for the day-to-day operations for its Gift cards, Airtime2Cash, and refill services (Bill Payments) but the corrective effect of the move seems not to be impactful.