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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which currently forbids commercial banks and other financial institutions from handling linked transactions, has been urged to reconsider its anti-crypto policy. 

Additionally, it is advised to put more emphasis on efficient and effective transaction monitoring and reporting systems rather than outright bans. 

The second annual Blockchain Associations Forum (BAF) Member Summit, which was hosted digitally and attracted attendees from over 53 countries, advanced the cause. 

The summit was conducted to discuss national digital asset plans, crypto asset policies, and the direction of the world economy.

Nigeria was represented by Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SiBAN), a founding member of BAF. Senator Ihenyen, the president of SiBAN, claimed that because Nigerian regulators, particularly the CBN, have not yet provided or implemented a regulatory framework on crypto assets or cryptocurrencies, the CBN’s directive prohibiting financial institutions from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions hinders the work of law enforcement agencies regarding the investigation and prosecution of crypto-related crimes in the nation. 

In order to ensure proper development of policies and regulations in the sector of crypto assets, as well as to help encourage compliance and cooperation, while also boosting trust between operators and regulators, he said that regulators and the government need to improve on multi-stakeholder engagements.

He demanded that the National Blockchain Adoption Strategy be reviewed to make sure that the CBN and all other stakeholders specified in the framework are on the same page. 

A review, he continued, would foster consistency, predictability, and innovation support and growth in crypto asset policy and regulation. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) now recognizes crypto asset players under its new regulations on digital assets, which include Digital Asset Offering Platforms (DAOPs), Digital Asset Custodians (DACs), Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASPs), and Digital Assets Exchange, according to Ihenyen, who recounted the improvements in the sector of digital assets in Nigeria (DAX).

He also mentioned that the Federal Ministry of Communications and the Digital Economy and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) are both supporting the country’s National Blockchain Adoption Strategy.

“Nigeria is targeting to realise up to $10 billion from the Blockchain technology by 2030. SiBAN is recognised as a stakeholder in the National Blockchain Adoption Strategy,” he said.

He claims that the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) now acknowledges cryptocurrency assets as a financial innovation that requires regulation to maintain accountability and transparency. A new Money Laundering Act 2022 has also been passed in Nigeria with the goal of, among other things, bringing virtual assets under the jurisdiction of its Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework and complying with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards on AML for crypto assets.

However, he pointed out that despite the fact that Nigeria has a National Blockchain Adoption Strategy, there is an obvious lack of cooperation among stakeholders, particularly regulators like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the SEC, and other important regulators, which has had a negative impact on innovation development, policy formulation, and regulation in Nigeria’s developing crypto assets industry.


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