Pressure is mounting on Nigeria’s central bank (CBN) after it suddenly announced a blockade on cryptos with it now stating they’re going to commence market research in collaboration with Nigeria’s SEC and others.
Speaking at the Association of Capital Market Academics of Nigeria (ACMAN) in Abuja on Sunday, Kevin Amugo, Director for Financial Policy at CBN said:
“The committee on cryptocurrency headed by the National Security Adviser and members EFCC, NFIU, SEC, NAICOM and all regulators are to strategize and come up with a national position not a monetary policy position.
Because of the interest crypto has generated, I think it is high time we reconvened and ensure that we take a national position, so that what is issued is a national position not a CBN or SEC position.
We are engaging internationally and locally to ensure that we come out with a harmonised and implementable position.”
A spokesperson for Nigeria’s SEC came out more forcefully against a ban or blockade of cryptos, with Timi Agama, Head of Exchanges, Market Infrastructure and Innovation at SEC, stating:
“There is a lot of investment moving into the cryptocurrency market and… For us at the SEC and capital market, it is something to look at, the world cannot be moving forward and we will be static, no.
It is important for us to review, understand, appreciate and introduce regulations that will guide the movement of the market in this direction.
A market that has opportunity for ICOs, derivatives, is not a market we can ignore.
It is our desire that we do more work, collaborate as regulators and analyse to make sure that we provide a level playing field where Nigerians, international investors and whoever is interested in this space will be comfortable and happy.
I hope that in doing that, we are going to be able to drive foreign portfolio investment, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into this country and build our capital market.”
CBN imposed a banking blockade on cryptos last month, but that outraged lawmakers who have asked it to appear before the senate.
This cross-agency research appears to be part of it, with CBN seemingly backtracking from using monetary policy as an excuse for the blockade, while SEC there appears to be very in favor of cryptos.
A u-turn therefore may be on the cards because Nigeria would stand out as the only democracy if they continue wit the blockade instead of regulating and even encouraging the huge innovation going on in this space which may well digitize the stock market and much of finance.