Supposedly reactionary Nigerian financial regulators have suddenly begun to pay attention to the cryptocurrency industry. Multiple publications from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released recently, stress the use of Blockchain in the country.
A Blockchain committee
Most recent among these publications is a circular from the CBN to commercial banks requesting nominations of representatives to the committee that will produce the policies and guidelines that will guide Blockchain regulation in Nigeria, and also generate the operational framework for instituting a domestic cryptocurrency in Nigeria.
According to the circular, Blockchain technology is gradually becoming a pervasive platform in the conduct of modern payments. It has presented itself to the world of payments by giving strong value propositions around security, digitalization and trust.
A political undertone
There have been mixed reactions from citizens towards this sudden interest by the Nigerian financial system regulators.
Considering the present crisis rocking the system, which appears to have overwhelmed the capacity of the key players within, Olukunle Taiwo, a cryptocurrency enthusiast, thinks that these agencies are only being political with their recent moves.
Taiwo says that what is unfolding is simply a struggle for relevance and a quest to appeal to the confidence of the citizens which have been long lost.
“The CBN is only trying to be politically relevant. At the moment, they are all about impressing the public whose confidence they have lost by their inability to navigate the country out of recession.”
Blessing in disguise
The CEO of Hyperchain Technologies, Chigozie Ononiwu, holds a more optimistic opinion with regards to the development.
Ononiwu tells Cointelegraph that the recent interest and news media reports attributed to SEC and CBN is a blessing in disguise to Blockchain, Bitcoin and Altcoin adoption by the mainstream. Ononiwu says that their actions are offering the public the opportunity to acquire an insight into the mindset of the government and monetary regulation authorities.
According to Ononiwu, the government is concerned that Bitcoin/Altcoins are being used to siphon stolen money in and out of Nigeria. They want the public to self-regulate by putting in place AML/KYC compliance mechanisms to mitigate against corrupt practices, he says. As for the CBN’s letter to the banks, it is, in his opinion, an indirect endorsement of all things Blockchain. They have realized the inevitable crowning of Blockchain as the backbone for all future technologies.
“The disruptive and innovative Blockchain movement in Nigeria must capitalize on this.”