#EndSARS protesters turn to Bitcoin for lifeline

October 17, 2020
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As protests surge through Nigeria in response to police brutality, one enclave of protestors, Feminist Coalition, has turned to bitcoin as a financial lifeline during turbulent times.

The Feminist Coalition’s bank account was shuttered this month after its involvement in the End SARS protests came to light, according to a person familiar but unaffiliated with the group who asked to be identified as Emma (a pseudonym).

The Feminist Coalition was founded in July with a mission to “champion equality for women in Nigerian society with core focuses of education, financial freedom, and representation in public office.”

The group has concentrated on providing medical care, legal aid and even funeral funding for those participating in the peaceful demonstrations.

As of Oct. 16, the Feminist Coalition has collected a total of 69,891,637.15 naira (a couple bucks shy of $185,000), 15,443,280.00 of which ($40,000) has been deployed to aid 128 protests across the country, according to the coalition’s website.

All of this fundraising attracted the attention of authorities, though, and they were shut out of Flutterwave, the payments platform and something of a virtual bank they used to process donations. (At press time, Flutterwave had not returned CoinDesk’s request for comment).

Further, the Feminist Coalition’s successful fundraising using bitcoin sheds “some positive light on cryptocurrency,” she says, and promotional efforts by Binance in Nigeria are also softening Bitcoin stigma in the country.

With SARS now abolished, though, the protesters’ something-of-a-victory has left Emma hopeful. Not necessarily that things will immediately change, but that the Nigerian people, collectively, are beginning to “wake up” to the government’s abuses.

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