Bitcoin users rise in Nigeria despite Senate, CBN campaign against it

The use of Bitcoin is rising in Nigeria despite the warnings given by the Nigerian Senate and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) against it. According to a new report from the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency is penetrating Nigeria regardless of the risk involved.

The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria said 41% of new users in bitcoins were reportedly from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. The use of bitcoins has continued to grow worldwide irrespective of the dangers of insecurity of funds and scams.

Campaign against Bitcoin futile: In 2018, CBN, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) were all directed by the Senate to enlighten Nigerians on the risks involved in trading with Bitcoins, but this report shows the enlightenment campaign has done little or nothing to dissuade Nigerians.

Bitcoin is described as a volatile currency because it is operated mostly without regulations in place, thereby, creating loopholes for users to be defrauded. So, it is no surprise that the CBN didn’t recognise it as a legal tender. The CBN identifies naira as the sole legal tender to trade.

But not recognising Bitcoin as a currency for trade hasn’t stopped Nigerians, as consumer behaviour has gradually changed.

“There are concerns on the use of other digital currency which is currently changing the global payment ecosystem.” The report on ‘Legal issues in eCommerce,’ said, adding that, “It was stated that in 2018, 41 per cent of new users in bitcoins, a cryptocurrency, hailed from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.”

Bitcoin spread can’t be stopped: The growth recorded among users in Nigeria is a pointer that the use of Bitcoin can’t be stopped. However, the CBN can curtail the activities of operators by regulating the cryptocurrency market.

Senior Partner, Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors, Anthony Idigbe, suggested that the CBN should take steps to regulate and offer a visible certification badge for the Bitcoin market.

“The CBN has to consider ways of applying its regulations to the new consumer behaviours of blockchain and cryptocurrency as there are new infrastructure or payment gateways that allow online/offline merchants to receive other modes of payments from the regular fiat currency such as cryptocurrency.

“To improve recognition of credible e-commerce, the CBN can require payment gateways and merchant aggregators linked to an e-commerce site, to issue its merchants with a visible certification badge.”

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