On the 5th of February, 2021, the Nigerian government decided to “run its citizens streets” if you know what we are saying. A new letter was issued to all deposit money banks, non-bank financial institutions and other financial institutions to the effect that these institutions immediately halt all dealings in cryptocurrencies and stop enabling cryptocurrency payments via crypto exchanges.
All these financial institutions have been ordered to extinguish all these activities and disallow individuals from leveraging on crypto. This sudden move shook the entire crypto sector in Nigeria and businesses that offer crypto services to Nigerians seeing as Nigeria is the largest crypto market in the whole of Africa.
Unsurprisingly, Nigerians flocked the Bird App in their numbers to express their disapproval and distaste for the innovation crippling move. One unimpressed Nigerian commented that the National Bank of Nigeria completely deleted all the wealth of an entire people and tribe in 1970, he urged strong Nigerians not to succumb as he believed that this is the time to embrace the leading currency even more.
While it is understood that the Nigerian government may be out to preserve the value of the Naira as the country experienced a depleted remittance ratio from the January of 2020 to September 2020, this move does not appear to be the most expedient way to increase the value of the Naira. The direct remittance figures dipped from $2.05bn to $54.4 million within the above-mentioned period according to figures from Nairalytics. This of course is a huge threat to the Nigerian Naira. You can already imagine the end result when Naira is no more in demand.
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The foreign crypto players joined the multitude to express their displeasure, one noted that Nigeria demands citizens have fun staying poor. Other payment processing platforms like Bamboo immediately put measures in place to extinguish all crypto payment facilities.
Nigerians still do not understand how extinguishing innovation is the way out of all potential threats to the emerging technology that is blockchain and its attendant currencies.
It is opined that instead of outrightly extinguishing the technology, the government may enquire into how the Nigerian SEC can leverage on same to enrich the National purse or better still engineer its own digital Naira (Hopefully Nigeria will join other Nations of the world to have a digital Central Bank Digital Currency-CBDC) to play alongside other cryptos and CBDCs on the global crypto stage.
We hope that our Nation will not sacrifice our future on the altar of anti-money laundering, counter terrorism financing and currency devaluation threats, but instead will become more creative in its crime minimalization moves.
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