Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Nigeria is forging on with crypto despite regulatory hurdles

 Nigeria’s cryptocurrency industry has been on an uphill trend in the past few years, and it’s showing no sign of regression. This is despite the country’s central bank issuing constant warnings to the citizens, asking them to steer clear of cryptos. The latest industry reports indicate that this trend is set to continue in 2020.

Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria, has been a leader in the crypto industry in Africa for years now. Its vibrant crypto industry has also seen it claim the top spot for Bitcoin searches on Google globally, ahead of established crypto hubs such as the U.S. and Japan.

In its annual market report, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) noted the continued rise of cryptos, stating, “The CBN has also declared that digital currencies are not legal tender with naira as the sole legal tender. There are concerns on the use of other digital currency which is currently changing the global payment ecosystem.”

For Nigerians, cryptos offer hope of a better, more accessible and efficient financial system. Despite being the largest economy in Africa, the country has over 60 million citizens with no access to formal banking services. And while other African countries have sought to go around this through the use of mobile money, Nigeria hasn’t had much success with this either. According to the World Bank, only 6% of Nigerians use mobile money. This makes Nigeria a perfect market for crypto.

While the Nigerian Central Bank has discouraged its citizens from using cryptos, the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) intends on integrating cryptos into its capital market. The SEC has set up a committee that will work on a regulatory framework for cryptos. It will look into issues such as investor protection, maintaining the integrity of the financial market and ensuring financial stability.

Crypto trading platforms in Nigeria have continued to see increased activity, with Paxful being one of the leaders. The exchange, which hit 3 million wallets recently, revealed that Nigeria continues to be one of its leading markets.

Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey recognized the great potential the West African country has as a crypto hub. In his recent visit to Nigeria, he attended crypto meetups, later stating that he believes Africa will determine the future of crypto.

By Steve Kaaru


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