The Nigerian entity – Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SiBAN) – reminded that cryptocurrencies and all related activities are still legal within the African country’s borders. As such, public and law enforcement agencies should stop their “demonization and discrimination” towards the sector.
Crypto is not Unlawful in Nigeria
Dealing with cryptocurrencies is not legal everywhere around the globe. The Chinese government, for example, prohibited all digital asset operations on local soil last year, claiming these measures are meant to protect investors from the highly volatile nature of crypto.
In a recent statement, the SiBAN – a Nigerian association that promotes the adoption and growth of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria – affirmed that dealing with digital assets is entirely legal inside the nation’s borders. Having that said, the organization urged banks, public and law enforcement agencies, and other institutions to cease pressuring local crypto players:
“Under Nigerian law today, it is neither a civil nor a criminal offense to buy, sell, or store cryptocurrency. The use of cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange, an investment asset, or store of value is a legitimate act in Nigeria.”
In addition, the SiBAN claimed that the rate of legitimate cryptocurrency transactions around the globe is over 99%. Instead of “stigmatization,” the Nigerian digital asset sector needs a comprehensive regulatory framework, the organization added. It also pointed out other African nations, such as Mauritius and South Africa, where local watchdogs seek to apply rules in the industry:
“Nigeria needs advocacy programs, specific education, and constant mass engagement and collaboration to equip the public and the regulators with an understanding of blockchain.”
Even though they encompass less than 1% of the total cryptocurrency transactions, consumers should bear in mind that illicit activities involving bitcoin and altcoins are not absolutely absent. The entity vowed to keep educating the broad society about the merits and the risks in the field:
“At SiBAN, we will continue to promote anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML-CFT) compliance and other best practices amongst our registered members. We are always ready to collaborate with relevant agencies in this regard.”
Why Are Nigerians so Attracted to Crypto?
According to a KuCoin study, 35% of Nigerian adults, or around 33 million people, have already invested some of their wealth into digital assets. Moreover, 52% of those have allocated at least half of their funds into the asset class.
KuCoin claimed that the main reason for the growing adoption is the lack of basic financial services in the region. Despite being one of the monetary and technology hubs in West Africa, residents in vast rural areas are left without any fiat-based opportunities.
Another top reason for locals to diversify traditional assets into crypto is to battle the surging inflation in Nigeria (currently standing at more than 15%).