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.