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Nigeria to recognize Bitcoin, Ether, and other cryptos

Once the Investments and Securities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill is signed into law, it will allow the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission to “recognize cryptocurrency and other digital funds as capital for investment.”

Lagos, Nigeria: Image by/ Wikimedia Commons

Mon, 19 Dec 2022, 10:30 am UTC

Nigeria is set to recognize Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and other cryptos within its jurisdiction. The government will reportedly pass a law soon that will recognize crypto usage in the country, a move that will keep Nigeria up to date with “global practices.”

This was revealed by the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets Chairman Babangida Ibrahim in an interview with the Nigerian-based Punch Newspapers on December 18, 2022. Once the Investments and Securities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill is signed into law, it will allow the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission to “recognize cryptocurrency and other digital funds as capital for investment.”

Ibrahim said that the new law is necessary for Nigeria to keep up with the latest capital markets developments and trends. “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 [with] global practices,” he explained, Cointelegraph reported.

The move to recognize Bitcoin, Ether, and other cryptocurrencies comes just around two years after the country imposed a ban on crypto activities. In February 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ordered Nigerian crypto exchanges and service providers to cease their activities and instructed banks to close the accounts of any individuals or entities engaged in trading activities.

However, Ibrahim does not view the passing of the law as a 180-degree turn on the ban. “It is not about [the] lifting of the ban, we are looking at the legality: what is legal and what is within the framework of our operations in Nigeria,” he explained.

“When cryptocurrency was initially banned in Nigeria, the CBN discovered that most of these investors don’t even use local accounts,” he added. “So, they are not within the jurisdiction of the CBN. Because they are not using local accounts, there is no way the CBN can check them.”

The bill seeks to make amendments to Nigeria’s Investments and Securities Act 2007. Aside from legally recognizing Bitcoin and other cryptos, the bill also outlines the regulatory roles of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria’s Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) on the crypto industry.

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