Nigeria central bank missed opportunity for blockchain regulation in 2021 — Convexity CEO

Adedeji Owonibi stated that the Central Bank of Nigeria should have created a blockchain regulation strategy in 2021 instead of cutting ties between cryptocurrency exchange firms and local banks.

A group of Nigerian professionals in digital assets took to the stage at the Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SIBAN)’s Digital Assets Summit 2023, held in Abuja, the nation’s capital, to discuss the future of digital assets in Nigeria in regards to regulation. 

In the panel titled “The Future of Digital Assets: Regulatory Uncertainty and the Way Forward,” the group discussed why the implementation of digital assets regulation and blockchain policy has been slow in Nigeria.

The developmental regulation created by NITDA is a big step towards understanding and creating a favorable environment for the blockchain and crypto industry, according to Adedeji Owonibi, chief executive officer (CEO) of Convexity. Mr Owonibi stated that this step was what the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should have taken back in 2021 instead of cutting ties between cryptocurrency exchange firms and local banks.

The panel on the Future of Digital Assets at the SIBAN Digital Assets Summit

Acknowledging NITDA’s strides in crafting a blockchain policy, Preye Itonyo, Deputy Director of the Digital Economy Development Department, highlighted the regulatory hurdle posed by the decentralized nature of blockchain, resulting in a lack of understanding of blockchain and cryptocurrency concepts in Nigeria. He pointed out that this lack of understanding fueled the 2021 crypto-traditional finance ban.

In a recent global survey, Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, was found to be the most cryptocurrency-aware population in the world and 90% of the Nigerian respondents expressed interest in investing in cryptocurrencies in the next year. However, there is a need for regulation in the industry to foster security while encouraging scalability.

Related: 99% of Nigerians are crypto aware — ConsenSys report

In response to this, Itonyo stated that the already established blockchain policy is the first step Nigeria has taken towards ensuring the safety and protection of crypto investors. He went ahead to reveal that a steering committee has been set up by NITDA to facilitate the implementation strategies of the national blockchain policy. According to Itonyo, the CBN and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) are members of the committee.

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