Nigeria is taking a significant step towards a blockchain-powered economy, as the country’s Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMCDE) has approved the National Blockchain Policy. This move, which emphasizes Nigeria’s growing interest in digital innovation, aims to benefit both the public and private sectors. However, despite this promising outlook, the focus on blockchain implementation is not without its pitfalls.
One of the primary motivators behind Nigeria’s push towards blockchain adoption lies in the country’s desire to reduce its reliance on the oil and gas sector. By fostering a digital-driven economy, Nigeria intends to “leapfrog” past traditional economic obstacles, diversifying its resources and sectoral contributions. To that end, the National Blockchain Policy aligns with the ‘DIGITAL NIGERIA’ Roadmap, striving to foster a secure environment for transactions, data sharing, and value exchange.
While these efforts are commendable, not everyone is excited about the integration of blockchain technology into Nigeria’s economy. With Nigeria currently ranked 11th on the Chainalysis 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index and 17th for peer-to-peer exchange trade volume, cryptocurrency’s exclusion from Nigeria’s SEC’s tokenization plans raises eyebrows. This skepticism may stem from the recent cash shortage that led to violent protests in Nigeria, as citizens increasingly turned to cryptocurrencies to safeguard themselves against current inflation and transactional limitations.
Enforcement and coordination of the National Blockchain Policy falls to the capable hands of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), under FMCDE oversight. Alongside this, a multisectoral steering committee has been established to ensure successful policy implementation. On the other hand, relevant regulatory bodies, such as Nigeria’s Central Bank, the National Universities Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Nigerian Communications Commission, have been directed by the Federal Executive Council to develop regulatory structures for blockchain implementation across the economy.
Global financial giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) shed light on the potential of blockchain technology in a recent report, estimating that by 2030, it could boost the global economy by a staggering $1.76 trillion. They also predict that most businesses will embrace blockchain technology by 2025, with the blockchain’s GDP skyrocketing to $422 billion.
Nigeria’s bold move towards a blockchain-powered economy sends a clear message of intent regarding economic diversification and forward-thinking digital policies. However, skeptics argue that Nigeria’s current economic challenges could pose a risk to the smooth implementation of blockchain technology. In a nation where cryptocurrencies offer some respite from economic hardships, it remains to be seen if the exclusive focus on blockchain implementation, without significant attention to cryptocurrencies, will deliver the desired impact as Nigeria embraces a digital future.