Despite Nigeria’s leading digital asset market and being a global leader in Bitcoin adoption, the country has, unfortunately, seen restrictions imposed by the government that have hindered the adoption of digital assets. Thankfully, the newly-elected president has vowed to change this, promising to promote the use of blockchain technology and digital assets through proactive regulation.
JUST IN: Bola Tinubu, the 🇳🇬 Nigerian President, has unveiled a manifesto that proposes the incorporation of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in Nigeria's banking and finance industry.
— Coingraph | News (@CoingraphNews) March 10, 2023
The Previous Start of Crypto in Nigeria
After a hotly contested election, Bola Tinubu was announced as the victor on February 25th, capturing 37% of the votes. The highly experienced politician and former Lagos governor, widely referred to as the ‘political godfather’, is taking up the reins from Muhammad Buhari whose term centered on prohibiting banks from providing services to digital asset firms.
Despite being political allies under the same party, Mr. Tinubu has declared his support for the development of emerging technologies, such as blockchain. His 80-page manifesto outlines his intention to reform government policy to foster the responsible implementation of blockchain technology in sectors of banking, identity implementation, revenue frameworks, and the utilization of cryptocurrencies.
Nigeria has previously imposed various regulations that have hindered the growth of digital assets. The CBN has decried the lack of transparency of digital assets, citing their potential for facilitating money laundering, arms trafficking, and terrorism financing. As such, the CBN has directed commercial banks to refrain from offering services to any Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs).
Recently, there has been a shift in attitude towards Bitcoin, with the emergence of a new bill proposing the legalization of digital assets in West Africa. Tinubu, due to take office on May 29, has assured Nigerians that his leadership will uphold the Bitcoin-friendly direction.
The President-elect is expected to be a driving force behind the introduction of Africa’s first Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the eNaira, despite its slow adoption in Nigeria, a nation with the seventh-largest population in the world. Moreover, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has recently indicated they are actively looking for technology partners to help address any issues associated with the eNaira.