Digital Currency will become a Reality in Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) during the 279th MPR meeting held in Abuja the past week, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Godwin Emifele assured Nigerians that digital currencies would have a place in the country.

Emifele said,

“We have arrived at an investigation, and we found out that a substantial percentage of our people are getting involved in cryptocurrency, which is not the best. Don’t get me wrong, some may be legitimate, but most are illegitimate. Under cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, Nigeria comes 2nd in Africa, while on the global side of the economy, Nigeria comes 27th. We are still conducting our investigation, and we will make our data available.”

Furthermore, Emifele voiced his concerns surrounding digital assets using the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk’s uncertainty, as an example.

“We saw the market collapse initially when Elon Musk tweeted around the time when we said our banking and payment facilities are no longer available for cryptocurrency transactions, and he tweeted that he will invest $1.5 billion and the Bitcoin price went up. He now tweeted and raised a few concerns, and the thing (cryptocurrency) plunged.”

After stating his concern, the CBN governor went on to say. “We are committed to the CBN, and I can assure everybody that digital currency will come to life even in Nigeria but will need to treat with care he warned.”

Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) partners to understand better and regulate cryptocurrencies; this is coming after the February 5 circular issued. The apex bank directs financial institutions to close accounts of a person or entities involved in cryptocurrency transaction-bitcoin within their system. In essence, fintech, banks, and other payment institutions are prohibited from facilitating a cryptocurrency exchange for Nigerians. However, a few months back, at the post-Capital Market Committee (CMC) virtual conference, the Director-General SEC, Lamido Yuguda, said that the Commission was discussing with the Central Bank Nigeria to understand better and regulate the crypto-assets market.

At the same time, the SEC boss was reiterating that the Commission had suspended the implementation of crypto assets guidelines due to a lack of access to this platform access to Nigerian bank accounts. Therefore the authority promised to come back later to inform Nigerians of the outcome of these engagements. But ever since the sweeping ban in February, the crypto exchanges traders in Nigeria as turning their attention to peer-to-peer exchanges (P2P) after the Nigerian apex bank announced an all-out ban on related accounts associated with cryptocurrency purchase and trading in the country.

Nigeria has become a hotspot for cryptocurrencies as an alternative to the Naira, a notional currency prone to depreciation. Nigerians have found various use cases for decentralized digital money, from trading bitcoin to make a living. Even though some Nigerian cryptocurrency users have shared their frustration regarding the directives, they have not been deterred. On the contrary, they have vowed to continue using cryptocurrencies, embracing a P2P method that is harder to detect or stop by the authorities.

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