What a New Administration Could Mean for Crypto in Nigeria

What a New Administration Could Mean for Crypto in Nigeria

In February 2021, the CBN banned banks from enabling cryptocurrency transactions. Due to its anonymity, the move was intended to curb the use of crypto to facilitate illegal activities. However, this ban didn't deter Nigerians from adopting crypto. What to expect from the next administration?

Oluwadamiloju Akinleye

Early in February 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued an order barring banks from enabling cryptocurrency transactions. This order meant Nigerians could no longer perform crypto transactions with these banks. According to the CBN, crypto was a tool to facilitate illegal deals due to its anonymous nature. Hence, the ban served to protect Nigerians from cybercriminals.

Surprisingly, this didn’t deter users from adopting crypto; the stats show that much. Once again, Nigerians had found a way around this with the rise of cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Busha, which make crypto transactions seamless.

But as this current administration begins to wrap up, we cannot but wonder what the future holds for crypto with the incoming administration. Will crypto remain banned in Nigeria? Or will the new administration be more welcoming?

To attempt to answer this, we must start by knowing the stance of at least the three front-runners for the presidential election. They have all shared their opinion on the subject with the public.

Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has previously spoken against the ban on cryptocurrency. In a tweet dated back to February 2021, he said concerning the policy, “This is definitely the wrong time to introduce policies that will restrict the inflow of capital into Nigeria, and I urge that the policy to prohibit the dealing and transaction of cryptocurrencies be revisited.”

Maybe it’s safe to assume that under an Atiku presidency, there will be no ban on cryptocurrency. Atiku states, “There is already immense economic pressure on our youths. It must be the job of the government, therefore, to reduce that pressure rather than adding to it.”

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has also promised to take advantage of the positives from crypto rather than dwelling solely on the negatives. In his words, “I promise a thriving digital economy where those interested in pursuing careers of integrity in ICT will be able to do so. We will also ensure that Nigeria can take greater advantage of relatively recent innovations such as blockchain technology.”

While he belongs to the current ruling party, his advocacy for a different approach to crypto remains to be seen.

Peter Obi, Labour Party’s candidate, when asked directly about his plans: “Whatever that can make this country work. We will have youths and women driving these forces, and whatever they have that will make it work, I will stand with them. I assure you that blockchain technology is driving a lot of profits, and we will embrace it. In cryptocurrency, we will study it and see how it can help us.”

All three leading candidates for the presidential election have spoken in favour of cryptocurrency. Suppose their intended plans are anything to go by; we can expect better crypto adoption and a reversal of the current unfavourable restrictions.

It’s fair to argue that these statements are merely a ploy to sway the youth. However, time will tell. As we all know, ideation is the fun part; execution is another ballgame entirely.

As crypto enthusiasts, we remain hopeful that these candidates will remain true to their word.

But as I wrap up, an important thing to note is that since the ban on cryptocurrency by this administration didn’t entirely affect its use, can that translate to mean its adoption will have no significant effect as well?

I’m curious. Let me know what you think in the comments.