The Federal Ministry of Finance, Nigeria has announced plans to collaborate with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to develop a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency trading and usage in the country.
Announced November 24 at the “Fintech In Nigeria: State of Play” Conference, special adviser to the Finance Minster on ICT – Armstrong Takang revealed that the Nigerian government sees an opportunity in crypto and blockchain adoption; and will look to proffer regulations for the benefit of all stakeholders.
Takang’s comments come two months after SEC Nigeria published an official notice classifying cryptocurrencies as securities; permissible for trading under regulatory guidelines.
In his remarks, Takang added that the Finance Ministry will get involved with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, as well as the Nigerian Customs to examine the use of cryptocurrencies in cross-border trade.
Also speaking at the event, President of the Blockchain Association of Nigeria – Paul Ezeafulukwe expressed believe that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would support the proposed regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies despite its previous warnings on the risk associated with crypto assets.
“With CBN being one of the key stakeholders in the proposed blockchain adoption strategy, I do not think that CBN will eventually introduce a policy or regulation that is not aligned with the principles and strategies in the proposed document. Besides, CBN, through its representative at the stakeholder engagement, indicated its readiness in principle to provide regulatory support.”
For many Nigerians, this news is a pointer to the growing recognition and adoption of digital currencies especially at a time when the country ranks among nations with the highest Bitcoin trading volume globally.
At this time, the current recession and economic hardship caused by a strict capital controls, devaluing of the naira, shortage of forex, and high black market rates has seen many citizens seek alternative methods of payment like Bitcoin (BTC).
To its benefit, Bitcoin offers Nigerians an exchange value similar to the US dollar; in addition to its global acceptability, cheap transfer fees and speed, it could gradually become the trade currency of choice for international trade.
There is also the benefit of storing value in Bitcoin as an asset; while the Nigerian Naira (NGN) continues to fall against the U.S. dollar (USD).