A friend sent me a tweet recently that said the world is a museum of passion projects. Everything beautiful or valuable to other humans first started as an idea in the mind of someone who then pushed for it to become a reality. NairaRates is bringing something as valuable.
Today, innovative technologies in financial services emerge to make processes easier, more efficient, reduce errors, and generally make life better for people.
NairaRates, an automation bot that pulls exchange rates from open-source APIs, is one such innovative technology. Since its launch only two months ago, it has garnered a following of over 23000 people on Twitter, clearly emphasising its usefulness. It’s a brilliant example of something borne out of passion going on to be adopted widely.
How does NairaRates work?
Everyday, on its Twitter page, the NairaRates bot sends current exchange rates for the Naira against major world currencies like the Dollar, Pound and the Euro. NairaRates offers value to people in the Nigerian financial market by delivering these data to them right on their social media feed. It has started with Twitter, the 5th most used social media platform in Nigeria.
Other social media channels might soon follow as the NairaRates community grows. The bot is an anonymous one, so there’s no way to know for certain what plans the creator has for the future.
Reading comments beneath many auto-tweets by NairaRates, you’ll find, as I have, that people want to see rates for more currencies. This begs the question, where were we getting our rates from before the launch of this famed Twitter bot?
For as long as I can remember, Nigerians have depended on getting currency rates from black market sources and the banks. The Central Bank concluded that this was causing the Naira to fall against other world currencies, proposing complete control of FX transactions by the banks.
In a bid to completely move retail forex transactions from bureau de change operators to banks, in September last year, the Federal government shut down the operations of a popular website providing currency exchange information. With the Central Bank now having complete control of the forex market transactions, the Naira will begin to rise. Or so they thought.
As a result of CBN intentions, suppressing forex supply has only boosted the underground economy. People have found alternative sources of information, and the Naira continues to plummet. With Nigeria’s long term depreciation of its currency rate, the Naira is at its worst valuation.
Pooling and pulling rates from the most trusted and most used alternative source, the NairaRates bot is essential for the average Nigerian, whether they are involved in the FX trade or not. Only 2 in 5 Nigerians would quote bank rates if you inquired about the price of Naira to the US Dollar. This proves that the market sets the rates and not the banks.
It’s the classic market mechanism – the power of supply and demand determines the price and quantity of goods (in this instance, currency) traded.
As the NairaRates bot expands its scope to capture some major cryptocurrencies, it’s gaining more ground in top of mind awareness for exchange rate platforms across the country.
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