A little over a year after its inception in October 2021, Nigeria’s eNaira has only been adopted by 0.5% of the country’s population.
Legislation recognizing the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a way to stay up with “global standards” will allegedly soon be passed by the Nigerian government.
Following an interview with the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets, Babangida Ibrahim, Punch Newspapers, a Nigerian publication, broke the news on December 18.
According to the article, the local Securities and Exchange Commission would be able to “recognize bitcoin and other digital monies as capital for investment” if the Investments and Securities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill were to become law.
Ibrahim emphasized the need for Nigeria to be current with capital market trends and developments:
“Like I said earlier during the second reading, we need an efficient and vibrant capital market in Nigeria. For us to do that, we have to be up to date [with] global practices.”
The CBN found that the majority of these investors don’t even have local accounts when bitcoin was first outlawed in Nigeria. Therefore, they fall outside of the CBN’s purview. There is no way for the CBN to check them because they aren’t using local accounts, he said.
The 2007 Investments and Securities Act of Nigeria would be modified if the legislation is approved.
The bill would specify the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) and Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) (Nigeria) regulatory functions on topics connected to digital currencies in addition to giving legal recognition to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, according to the article.
The eNaira, the digital currency issued by Nigeria’s central bank, has received little to no attention from Nigerians and only has a 0.5% adoption rate as of October, 12 months after its inception.
As usage grew after the ban in February 2021, the Nigerian government’s earlier efforts to suppress cryptocurrency activities may have also been fruitless.
Nigerians were only behind the United States in Bitcoin trade volume from January to August of last year, and at that time, they were more likely to google “Bitcoin” than anyone from any other nation.
An April research report by CoinGecko revealed that Nigerian citizens were the most interested in cryptocurrencies. The intrigue is not surprising given that Nigerians are still trying to combat extreme inflation and a depressed economy.
In September, Nigeria began preliminary negotiations with cryptocurrency exchange Binance to create a crypto-friendly economic zone that will assist local blockchain and cryptocurrency firms.