I had never seen public posters, banners, handbills, billboards, newspaper/magazine ads all used in promoting the use of e-gold – specifically advertising for e-gold users in Nigeria to fund their account. Not until I visited Ibadan (in Nigeria) again, recently. Dr Douglas Jackson founder and CEO of e-gold Ltd must be proud. Too bad I forgot to take my camera along, on that trip.
Not a few Nigerians take part in global commerce via the World Wide Web. According to Internet World Stats, there are about 5 million Internet users in Nigeria. This is only 3.57% of Nigeria’s 140 million people (2007 official census).
These people need to make payment online to facilitate their participation in e-commerce. Aside buying and selling online, others invest in foreign stock markets, foreign currency market (Forex), High Yield Investment Programs (HYIPs), Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) schemes etc.
Until 2006, Nigerian banks did not issue international credit/debit cards though local debit cards were issued much earlier. Thus many were those who were unable to join the e-commerce bandwagon due to the major online payment obstacle.
E-gold to the rescue
A few ones however, could buy/sell online as way back as the early 2000’s – thanks to e-gold. (yours truly included). These few could trade their Naira for e-gold with other e-gold users, or fund their e-gold accounts using independent e-currency exchangers (this is much less common).
Several online activities increased the patronage of e-gold in Nigeria:
- MLMs – Many were those who wanted to participate in multi-level marketing schemes as a means of generating regular income. In all these, CashCards comes to mind as a company promoting its branded Visa ATM using MLM. CashCards members could deposit funds into V-cash and GoldLynks (both run by CashCards) using e-gold.
- Forex trading – Foreign currency market trading has been gaining popularity in Nigeria in recent times. With a belief of making huge returns from the highly volatile forex trading market, many Nigerians having been hoping in and funding their e-gold accounts to deposit into forex trading platforms that accept e-gold deposits.
- HYIPs – These ponzi schemes promise high returns on investments and e-gold is the most popular means by which they accept deposits and pay returns. Many Nigerians attracted by the promise of huge returns joined [and still join] them, using e-gold as a means of payment.
- Web hosting & domain name registration – To actively participate in e-business/e-commerce you would need a web presence of your own – especially if you are a merchant want to sell to the international market. Many were those who had to use e-gold as a means of paying for web hosting and domain name registration services. This is specifically what attracted me to e-gold. The only downside here is that they are limited to only web hosts that accept e-gold as a means of payment.
With the recent IP blocking palaver by e-gold however, one is left to wonder what the future of e-gold will be in Africa’s most populous nation. Moreso, many HYIPs are switching from e-gold to other offshore digital currencies following the recent clash between e-gold Ltd and the US Department of Justice. e-gold Ltd was indicted for money laundering & illegal money transmitting and e-gold in return clamped down on suspected scammers within its e-payment system.