In a remarkable development in the world of cryptocurrencies, Nigeria has recently approved the National Blockchain Policy for Nigeria. This noteworthy decision came during a meeting held on May 3, 2023, as a response to a memo presented by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami). The approval of this policy was then announced by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMCDE).
According to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the widespread adoption of blockchain technology could possibly contribute $1.76 trillion to the global GDP by 2030, which is 1.4% of the world’s GDP. It is worth mentioning that the National Blockchain Policy was developed by the FMCDE, involving stakeholder consultations from both the public and private sectors, in line with the 7th pillar of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), focusing on Digital Society and Emerging Technologies.
A draft of the Blockchain Adoption Strategy released in October 2020 highlighted the role of blockchain and decentralized ledger technology (DLT) in the Nigerian digital economy’s development. The central aim of the Policy is to build a blockchain-driven economy that enables secure transactions, data sharing, and value exchange among individuals, businesses, and the government. With its implementation, it is expected to improve trust and growth, fostering innovation and prosperity for all stakeholders involved.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) will be responsible for coordinating the Policy’s initiatives under the supervision of the FMCDE. A multi-sectoral Steering Committee has also been established to oversee the implementation of the Policy. Regulatory bodies such as NITDA, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the National Universities Commission (NUC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have been instructed to develop regulatory frameworks for implementing blockchain technology across various sectors of the economy.
Strategy initiatives for blockchain adoption include the establishment of a blockchain consortium in Nigeria, the enhancement of the regulatory and legal framework, the promotion of digital identity, blockchain business incentive programs development, digital literacy and awareness fostering, and the creation of a national blockchain sandbox for testing and piloting.
While the approval and implementation of the National Blockchain Policy in Nigeria undoubtedly signify a progressive step toward integrating blockchain technology into the country’s economy, it is essential to note that cryptocurrency transactions are still deemed illegal. With the development of proper regulatory frameworks that address the inherent risks and challenges associated with cryptocurrencies, it remains to be seen whether Nigeria will eventually reconsider its stance on cryptocurrencies in the future. The successful execution of its National Blockchain Policy could potentially catalyze a significant transformation in the Nigerian digital economy landscape, paving the way for a brighter, blockchain-driven future.