Source: AdobeStock / Faraz

A group of Nigerian blockchain experts have criticized the nation’s Central Bank for its decision to prohibit the use of cryptocurrencies in 2021.

At the recent Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SIBAN)  Digital Assets Summit 2023 in the nation’s capital, experts highlighted the challenges posed to the sector and made attempts to chart a new course for the industry amid global challenges.

Speaking on the theme, The Future of Digital Assets: Regulatory Uncertainty and the Way Forward, Adedeji Owonibi the CEO of Convexity praised the regime around blockchain technology and fired shots at the failure of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to implement a favorable policy.

He hailed the recent steps by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in its role in pushing for the first National Blockchain Policy in May, a move that would protect creators, investors , and users. 

Similarly, other experts at the summit stressed the regulatory hurdles faced in several jurisdictions and cited a lack of proper understanding of the concept and nature of the technology as key factors for the CBN ban two years ago.

Although Nigeria tops global data on blockchain awareness, a major challenge has been the government’s fear of cryptocurrencies “destabilizing” the economy.

A positive takeaway is the government’s new stance to become pro-blockchain as the NITDA has set up committees to implement key changes in the blockchain regulatory approach.

Notably, the CBN and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) are members of the committee.

Web3 education becomes a priority 

At the summit, a panel on Web3 Education: Capacity Building, was brought forward and highlighted Nigeria’s top ranking in crypto awareness and potential adoption while stressing certain lapses.

Bello Abdullahi, the chief operating officer of Bitkova, a blockchain education company, singled out the language barrier as a huge factor in breaking into certain demographics because of the multilingual nature of Nigeria.

He urged young Web3 start-up founders to key into the vision of Satoshi Nakamoto against all odds posed by regulators and to place more efforts into interpreting crypto-based content in more local languages.

A new beginning? 

Despite the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies by Nigerians, regulations pose a huge challenge to all players in the sector. 

Recent Google data places the country in the top two spots on Bitcoin (BTC) Google searches alongside using crypto functionality to avert the country’s harsh economic policies. 

Many suggest that the good days are coming back as the amended Financial Act 2023 places digital assets as property subject to taxation.

The country has also recorded giant strides in blockchain development after it announced the issuance of blockchain-based certificates to graduates after the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) program. 

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