The government of Nigeria has proposed a bill that, if passed, would recognize Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as capital for investment, local news outlet Punch reported on 18 December.
The publication cited House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets Chairman Babangida Ibrahim, who said in an interview that this law was needed for the country to keep up to date with “global practices”. The Investments and Securities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill will also clearly define the supervisory roles of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when it comes to digital currencies. Ibrahim said in a statement:
“Like I said earlier during the second reading, we need an efficient and vibrant capital market in Nigeria. For us to do that, we have to be up to date global practices. In recent time, there are a lot of changes within the capital market, especially with the introduction of digital currencies, commodity exchanges and so many other things that are essential, that need to be captured in the new Act.”
The proposed bill comes almost two years after the CBN abandoned its plans to regulate digital assets, and placed a ban on institutions from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions. Back in February 2021, the central bank ordered crypto service providers and exchanges in the country to shut down, and mandated that banks should close the accounts of individuals that participated in crypto trading activities.
In his Sunday interview, however, Ibrahim pointed out that the ban on digital assets was largely ineffective as Nigerian crypto traders did not even use local accounts, which made it impossible for the CBN enforce its crypto prohibition. In fact, Nigeria was ranked sixth in Chainalysis 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index published last October.