The Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SiBAN) has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reconsider its current anti-crypto policy that restricts commercial banks and other financial institutions from processing crypto-related transactions.
SiBAN is a founding member of Blockchain Associations Forum (BAF). SiBAN proposed the view at the BAF’s virtual summit organized recently. The event saw participation from over 53 countries.
SiBAN president Senator Ihenyen claimed that since Nigerian regulators, particularly the CBN, have not yet provided or implemented a regulatory framework on crypto assets, the CBN’s directive restricting financial institutions from facilitating crypto-related transactions hinders the work of law enforcement agencies regarding the investigation and prosecution of crypto-related crimes in the nation.
Lack of coordination among regulatory bodies
Ihenyen added that regulatory bodies should work with crypto industry stakeholders so that proper compliance with rules and regulations can be adhered to. Such steps would also encourage cooperation among different regulators and companies.
In Nigeria, the National Blockchain Adoption Strategy is championed by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and supported by the Federal Ministry of Communications and the Digital Economy.
SiBAN president also requested that the National Blockchain Adoption Strategy be reviewed so that the CBN and all other stakeholders identified in the framework are on the same page.
Although the country has a National Blockchain Adoption Strategy, Ihenyen pointed out that there is a lack of cooperation among stakeholders, particularly regulators like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the SEC, and other important regulators, which had a negative impact on innovation development, policy formulation, and regulation in Nigeria’s developing crypto assets industry.
High crypto adoption in Nigeria
“Nigeria is targeting to realise up to $10 billion from the Blockchain technology by 2030. SiBAN is recognised as a stakeholder in the National Blockchain Adoption Strategy,” Ihenyen added.
A Chainalysis report published last month stated that lower-middle-income nations such as Nigeria populate the list of top 20 countries in the global crypto adoption index score. Nigeria has been ranked 11th position on the index list.
A Forbes report from September 2021 said that Africa is the fastest-growing region in the world for cryptocurrency adoption as per a Chainalysis study.
The crypto market in the region grew by 1,200% in terms of value in this period. Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania have seen a high rate of grassroots adoption of cryptocurrency.
Nigeria is one of the earliest countries in Africa and the world to adopt cryptocurrency. A recent study by Triple A, a cryptocurrency payment gateway app, revealed that the country has one of the highest rates of cryptocurrency adoption. Currently, it has over 22 million crypto users (10.34% of the total population).
As per a Statista report, Nigeria leads the world in terms of cryptocurrency adoption. The Statista Global Consumer Survey (2019-21) revealed that among all the respondents in the country, 28% of Nigerians owned or used cryptocurrency in 2019, 32% of Nigerians owned or used cryptocurrency in 2020, and 42% of Nigerians owned or used cryptocurrency in 2021.