A few months ago, Nigeria banned cryptocurrency exchanges in its financial systems. But over the last few weeks, it is becoming evident that Nigeria is marching on the path to regulate cryptocurrency trading, investment and use as a form of currency in the nation. Here are some indicators:
- The clear statement by the Vice President of Nigeria for the regulators to regulate and not ban
“There is a role for regulation here. And it is in the place of both our monetary authorities and SEC to provide a robust regulatory regime that addresses these serious concerns without killing the goose that might lay the golden eggs. So it should be thoughtful and knowledge-based regulation not prohibition.”
- Statement from the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI)
“The [Securities & Exchange Commission] should propose a plan of action for phased usage of the technological currency within the Nigerian financial system. We suggest that members of the commission should be drawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Stock Exchange, banking /financial Institutions, bitcoin community, digital currency experts and relevant MDAs and organised private sector….
“The policy lacuna impresses on the administration to consider possible options to prepare the nation to cope with the positive and negative fallouts of this new financial technology”
- Disclosure from the Director-General of SEC, Lamido Yuguda
“We are in discussion with CBN for both understanding and better regulating of this market. We will be able to come back to you later to inform you of the outcome of these engagements.
But because of the lack of access to commercial bank accounts, we had to suspend our own guidelines of September 2020. The implementation of that circular is suspended until these operators are able to have access to Nigerian bank accounts.
Remember that nobody operates in the Nigerian capital market if that person does not have access to a Nigerian bank account,” he said.
More so, Nigeria could surprise everyone by unveiling a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) roadmap and begin a push for e-naira, following the footsteps of China and other nations: “A central bank digital currency (CBDC) uses an electronic record or digital token to represent the virtual form of a fiat currency of a particular nation (or region). A CBDC is centralized; it is issued and regulated by the competent monetary authority of the country.”
I expect the air to clear by Q4 2021 and by then the regulators would put a framework for cryptocurrency in the nation. With Coinbase publicly baptized in the markets, most concerns will begin to wane across the world.
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