The 6 months I have spent trading cryptocurrencies have been a roller coaster ride. Cryptocurrencies are a 24/7 market easily swayed by the smallest of news items – a coin being listed on a new exchange, or yet another country clamping down on trading.
The most difficult parts, however, are not in buying or selling but in converting proceeds to Naira. Nigerian cryptocurrency exchanges are headaches to use –either prices are excessive, or transactions take forever to clear. Time is money in the crypto space, as prices can move up or down massively in a matter of seconds.
Prices on Luno, the king of the jungle, are usually at a premium compared to other cryptocurrencies, but trades go almost immediately. Remitano has way more reasonable prices, but the peer to peer system means that trades take hours to settle. The same system applies to other exchanges such as Naira4dollar and Nairaex. They also have rigid Know Your Customer (KYC)specifications almost equivalent to those for opening bank accounts.
The ever increasing number of users means that customer service in many exchangesis poor. Heaven help you if something goes wrong.
What is Tanjalo?
I was pleasantly surprised when I was referred to Tanjalo, by a friend. The first thing that piqued my curiosity was the name. It is nice to have something different for a change, not the usual Naira this or Bit that. Tanjalo, after much search and prodding, is the Yoruba name for tangerine.
What I like about Tanjalo
Transactions on Tanjalo are fast – really fast. You almost forget that you are transferring Bitcoin, and not some alt currency. The layout of the site is easy on the eyes and easy to use. Simply select the amount you want to buy, input a wallet address and then pay with an ATM card. One also has the option of paying through bank deposits.
The website also opens quite nicely on mobile phones so I don’t have to move around everywhere with a laptop.
What I don’t like
Absence of other coins
Tanjalo currently lacks other trading cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Litecoin which are growing in adoption. Ethereum is the most common cryptocurrency for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). This means that I have to buy Bitcoin and trade for Ethereum which(with an added cost)increases my transaction time (which is a key factor in trading). Tanjalo also lacks a sell side button, so what happens if one wants to sell? Another exchange?
Tanjalo does not have an inbuilt wallet, so one can only buy Bitcoin and then send out. This makes it difficult for people to save; it also costs them customers who have to open wallets with another exchange. This also makes it difficult to use cryptocurrencies purchased on Tanjalo for ICOs, as most of them require funds to be sent from a wallet.
Low social media engagement
Nigerians are quite active in the social media communities of cryptocurrency exchanges located outside the country. Nigerian exchanges fail in that regard, and Tanjalo is no different. This is strange, because many Nigerians are wary of financial transactions carried out online and require assurance, through constant communication,that they are not dealing with fraudsters.
Tanjalo has a twitter handle, with just 445 followers. The last tweet from the exchange’s twitter handle was a week ago. Seriously? Twitter isn’t enough. What happened to Slack, Discord and Telegram?
Tanjalo, though not the most expensive in price, could definitely go much lower. N5000 minimum transfer is quite expensive compared to other exchanges, which have a minimum floor as low as N500.
How far will Tanjalo go?
The cryptocurrency sector in Nigeria is still a growing one. While statistics on actual users are sketchy, Nigeria features prominently in cryptocurrency markets, especially in Africa. Most traders use several exchanges butif Tanjalo is able to maintain their efficiency in executing transactions and ramp up social media engagement, they will be able to create their own niche.