The cryptocurrency market and bitcoin popularity in Nigeria have been rising in recent years. Despite the ban on crypto trades by the government in 2021, Nigerians continued to engage in cryptocurrency-related activities. Most citizens became more interested in crypto to gain financial freedom.
A report released by The Punch News after interviewing the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets chairman Babangida Ibrahim said that the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission will recognize cryptocurrencies as a capital investment if an amendment to the Investment and Securities Act 2007 Bill is passed into law.
Nigerian Capital Market Must Align With Global Practices, Ibrahim Babangida
Ibrahim Babangida said there is a need for Nigeria to keep pace with the trends and developments in the capital markets. In his words, Nigeria needs an efficient and energetic capital market, and to achieve that, the country must align with global practices.
This development came about two years after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) banned crypto activities, mandating banks to shut crypto-related accounts. In addition, the CBN also ordered local crypto exchanges and service providers to stop operations.
However, Ibrahim Babangida is of a different opinion. The ex-president of Nigeria insists that passing the law doesn’t mean a total lift on the ban but a review of which part of crypto is within the CBN’s scope. Ibrahim believes the law will help them review the legality of crypto.
He further explained that the CBN could not monitor crypto investors initially because most of the accounts were foreign and outside its jurisdiction. However, all that will change upon approval of the Investment and Securities Act of 2007 amendments.
Aside from legalizing cryptocurrencies, there will be a clear regulatory outline on how the CBN and the Nigerian SEC will oversee digital assets. The deliberations come as Nigerian Central Bank Digital Currency receives a low adoption rate of 0.05% 12 months after its launch.
Curiosity Continues to Rise Among Nigerians Amid Bitcoin And Crypto Ban
Efforts by the government to enforce its crypto ban have proved futile as the bitcoin curiosity of Nigerian increased. According to an April study by CoinGecko, Nigeria ranked first among countries with the highest bitcoin curiosity.
Despite the crypto ban in February 2021, bitcoin adoption continued to rise. Nigeria followed closely behind the United States in bitcoin trading volume from January to August 2021.
Nigerians have continuously explored alternatives to dodge inflation and Naira devaluation, hence the increased interest in crypto. In September, Nigeria started discussions with Binance to create a crypto-friendly ecosystem to facilitate digital assets and blockchain-related businesses in the country.