Business

Steve Kaaru

Nigeria preparing to include digital currencies in capital market: report

While several African countries continue to sit on the sidelines in regards to cryptocurrencies, the continent’s biggest economy is silently preparing to integrate them into the heart of its financial industry. As reported by startup news site Wee Tracker, Nigeria has begun research into cryptos as it prepares to introduce them into its capital market.

The report revealed that Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has set up a committee that will work on a regulatory framework for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Known as the FinTech Roadmap Working Group, the committee is expected to look into such issues as investor protection, how to ensure financial stability in the new economy and maintaining financial market integrity.

The committee will be headed by Ade Bajomo, a seasoned financial expert whose role will be to ensure that the committee’s recommendations are in line with global best practices. These will include on matters such as crypto taxation, a thorny issue that even advanced economies including the United States haven’t quite figured out yet. The committee will look into the classification of cryptos as securities, commodities or currencies, yet another issue the U.S. and other leading crypto nations have struggled with.

The working group is made up of representatives from regulatory agencies as well as tech and finance experts. It has until the end of November to present a practical plan on how cryptos and other digital assets can be integrated into the Nigerian capital market.

Once it receives the recommendations from the committee, the SEC will work with other regulators to develop a licensing regime for fintech businesses in the country, the report revealed.

The move by the SEC is the most positive step yet for the crypto industry in the country. Nigeria has taken to crypto in recent years, with P2P platforms such as LocalBitcoins and Paxful seeing a surge in number of local users.

The country is home to over 200 million people, creating a large local market for the crypto industry. Moreover, Nigerians have been known to take to new technology fast, further making cryptos an attractive proposition for many. The country also has a high unbanked population, yet another reason for cryptos to thrive.

Kenya established a task force last year to look into cryptos, blockchain and AI, with its final report recommending that the country tokenize its economy to fight the rampant corruption. The government is yet to make any move, however, with the country’s central bank yet to change its anti-crypto stance.

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