08 September 2022
Authorities in Nigeria have been told to consider upgrading the country’s cryptocurrency regulatory guidelines because current regulations are not consistent with the realities on the ground. According to legal experts, the growing interest in cryptocurrencies by Nigerians means the country needs to have “clear-cut guidelines” for the industry.
Legal experts who spoke at a two-day workshop recently held in Nigeria have urged authorities to consider upgrading the country’s cryptocurrency regulatory guidelines. The experts argued that such an upgrade is needed because Nigerians have largely ignored current regulations that seek to stifle trade or investment in crypto.
As recently reported by Bitcoin.com News, Nigerians are skirting the central bank’s restrictions on crypto trading or investment by using peer-to-peer trading platforms. For example, in just the first of half 2022, Nigerians using Paxful — a peer-to-peer crypto exchange — are reported to have done trades worth almost $400 million. In addition, a survey recently found that the West African country’s residents are the most interested in cryptocurrencies globally.
Meanwhile, in some of their remarks published by The Guardian, the legal experts added that Nigeria’s need for clear guidelines is further justified by the investment that is flowing into the industry. One of the experts, Roger Geisler, a special agent in the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, is quoted in the report giving an example of a risk that many crypto users face but one that can potentially be minimized by putting guidelines in place. He said:
Fraudulent wallets have been discovered on Google Play Store and are often cloned to look authentic. Once a person loads the wallet, the money is taken and the wallet is left empty.
Another expert, David Awe, the head at Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF), outlined the challenges faced when attempting to establish a regulatory framework for blockchain smart contracts. However, the experts quoted in the report agree lawyers have a job of ensuring that smart contracts conform to the set criteria.
Ikechukwu Uwanna, the chairperson of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Lagos branch, said lawyers should look for ways of earning an income from the cryptocurrency industry.
“[Cryptocurrency is] the in thing today. Everyone is talking about it, but what is the legal regulatory framework? What are the security issues arising from digital assets? All of these are money income for lawyers,” Uwanna is quoted saying.
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