Category Archives: Central Bank of Nigeria

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Nigeria Can Be Empowered By Bitcoin Says Foundation CEO

Lady Victoria Walker, CEO of the United Digital Currency Reserve Foundation, has recently stressed that the understanding and deployment of bitcoin can kickstart the financial growth in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, reports Niger247News

In a recent presentation Lady Walker, who is also a blockchain and cryptocurrency speaker, as well as Principal Consultant at Cryptoria Investment Research, maintains that for Nigerian banks to deal with blockchain technologies, it first needs to understand cryptocurrencies:

“Many banks and regulators are confused and do not fully understand how Bitcoin and blockchain technology work, but I think once the Central Bank of Nigeria and other key figures get to understand the true nature of blockchain technology and what it can bring economically, I believe they may embrace the technology with open arms.”

The UK based fintech entrepreneur feels that new technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency are essential factors in empowering African leaders to inject growth and financial inclusivity into their economies, she argues:

“Britain imposes a ‘super tax’ on remittances sent to African countries, causing a loss of £1.8bn a year from money sent home by workers. Think about it, £1.8bn is taken away from the people sending money to support their families in Nigeria.  Imagine what £1.8bn a year could do in the pockets of families depending on money sent to them from abroad? This is where blockchain technology comes in. It solves a problem like this by making it easier and cheaper to transfer and remit payments internationally.”

Nigeria has had a difficult cryptocurrency history. Early last year it was reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria was considering implementing its own cryptocurrency, but later the same year, it was advising banks to distance themselves from virtual currency, warning them, “not to use, hold or transact in any way with the technology.”

The remarks came at a time when Nigeria’s interest in cryptocurrencies was flourishing. According to data from Coindance, weekly trading volume on Localbitcoins in Nigeria surged 500 percent in 2017.  Nigeria then, was among top countries using Google to search for ‘bitcoin’, alongside South Africa, Slovenia, Holland, and Austria. Although, it was reported at this time that a Ponzi scheme may have been partly responsible for the clicking figures. The scheme reportedly cost investors UD$50 million in early March of that year.

In a press release issued in March of this year, the CBN is now reiterating its warnings of last year, suggesting that due to crypto investments being unprotected, investors will be at risk. Lady Walker maintains that it is lack of knowledge which holds back the tide of progress in the African crypto space, which in turn creates institutional and public skepticism such as the CBN’s.

“People are skeptical because that is human nature. We are natural cynics and skeptics and rarely trust what we don’t understand. This is why I urge people to truly understand the nature of the industry, asset and also yourself”

Lady Walker believes that there will come a time when all Nigerian banks will have to adopt cryptocurrencies of their own, but due to the current volatility of the crypto market, it remains a future goal of those who see cryptocurrency as the financial future. She maintains:

“Bitcoin is a reality. We have all major world governments scrambling to make sense of it and world leaders sharing their views on the currency. For the past 700 years, our world has relied on the European legacy banking system for means of payments and transactions. Bitcoin is definitely challenging the traditional way when it comes to transfer of value. Just like the internet changed how we shop, bank, date and find information.”

About 40% of Nigeria’s population is unbanked, which blocks nearly half of the population from the financial economy. To this, the fintech CEO argues “All you require is a smartphone and internet to start sending and receiving payments. No I.D required, filling out paperwork, etc… Do you know how much this could change things for the people of Nigeria?”

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Nigeria Crack Down On Crypto

Residents in Nigeria have been told to stop meddling with cryptocurrencies, as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not approved the digital currency use.

This might come as a surprise to Nigerians as little more over than 12 months ago, the Nigerian government offered to support blockchain development.  The Cryptography Development Initiative of Nigeria (CDIN) had invited the Nigerian government for a close and unique partnership, and this was set to be the most significant blockchain event in West Africa, with the national electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) offering its support to CDIN. This is contained in a letter signed by the Chairman of NeFF, Dipo Fatokun.

“Please be informed that NeFF is willing to collaborate with CDIN and will assist with technical advice and/or speakers at the proposed 2017 conference on Blockchain. Also note that as the collaboration progresses, NeFF will also count on your support,” said Fatokun.

So what happened?

Recent events have seen several government agencies in Nigeria cautioning citizens on digital currency. At the Enugu International Trade Fair, the manager in charge of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Adikwu Igoche, stated that cryptocurrencies where not legal tender and not deposits or financial instrument authorized by the CBN.

Igoche went on to warn citizens that the government did not insure them and if anyone were to lose money trading, the person would do so at their own risk: “These forms of currencies are not backed by any physical commodity, such as gold or other precious stones. They do not belong to the category of currencies or coins issued by the CBN or the central bank of any other country.”.

Additionally, Igoche insisted that the NDIC would hold its stance and would not condone the security risks faced by the patrons of ponzi schemes and digital currencies.

The NDIC even went as far to open a 24-hour national help desk with a toll-free telephone number, insisting that residents of Nigeria must only bank at places displaying the NDIC sticker bearing the inscription ‘Insured by NDIC’, which can currently be found on banking hall entrances.

In other parts of Africa, Sierra Leone’s 27 March election – which had been postponed from 7 March – marks a monumental occasion as this will be the world’s first ever blockchain-powered presidential elections.

 

 

 

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