CRYPTO CURRENCIES: WHY NIGERIA MUST NOT BE LEFT BEHIND.
What’s the buzz about crypto currency?
Crypto currency is a money-like currency that leverage on the digital space for its existence. It can be used as a medium of exchange, to buy and sell, to keep and hold just like any kind of physical currency. Crypto currency also appreciates and depreciates depending on various determinants such as rate of acceptance and usage, only to mention a few. However, bearing in mind that the world has gone digital, its value is second to none. It is mobile, generally accessible and can be used by all irrespective of the country or people.
Crypto currency has thus created opportunities for the youths, to earn their living, especially in the face of dwindling economic fortune of the country.
It was thus a pleasant surprise that the Federal Government placed a ban on crypto-exchanges transactions in Nigeria through our nation’s banking system. One begins to wonder and profoundly amazed how the present administration is promoting the perception that it is averse to new ways of doing things. They will rather approach issues brashly, primitively and brazenly arrogant with its display of huge knowledge-gap and misguided sentiments. This was also evident in its hasty ban on Twitter’s operations in Nigeria by being mischievously ummimdful of the losses many Nigerians will incur especially the youths.
With successive policies of this administration, it will be safe to affirm it doesn’t want the youths to be empowered. Another instance was the clampdown on Flutterwave,(a payment platform) while seeking to get at the sponsors of the #Endsars movement which Maj-General Muhammadu Buhari(Rtd) saw as an attempt to remove him from office.
It is noteworthy that in five(5) years before it ban, Crypto transactions was worth $566m, and I’m yet to see the economic sense in pulling off the plug on such investment. To me, such decision is borne out of poor judgment and bad economic sense.
Again, it is quite ludicrous for the Central Bank of Nigeria to claim it was effecting a 2017 directive by banning crypto exchanges using banking and payment channels when the said directive or order contained demand for banks and other financial institutions to ensure that their crypto-exchange customers have effective anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing controls in place. This i can say with utmost conviction was adhered to as there was a guaranteed safety and ethical movement of money as transactions are carried out with BVN and other forms of valid identifications.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emeifele claims before Senate Committee on Banking that cryptocurrencies play roles in momey-laundering, terrorism financing, illicit arms purchases and tax evasion. For the sake of argument, and in futherance of this conversation, let assume the claims by the CBN Governor is true(though an outlandish one) I’m wondering why no crypto-exchange customer anywhere in the country has never been arrested, investigated on any of these accusations and complicity was established, and a guilty verdict in a court of competent jurisdiction. This only further makes this claims unfounded, wicked, irresponsible, and illogical.
While it is an established fact that they do a lot of damage to the value of the Naira through actions of speculators and round trippers in the black market, BDCs operators have an established case of terrorism funding against them. There was a case of Surajo Abubakar Muhammed, Saleh Yusuf Adamu, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammed Ibrahim Musa were sentenced by an Abu Dhabi Court either to life or ten year jail term as it was established that between 2015 to 2016, these accused transferred $782,000 from Dubai to Nigeria to the benefits of Boko Haram. In 2015, a survey of academic, governmental and journalistic accounts reported that Boko Haram funds its escalating acts of terror through black markets dealings. It is expected of the CBN governor and Federal Government to follow precedence by banning the activities of BDCs across the country just as they did with its speculations about Crypto-exchanges customers. Also the report from UAE revealed that the terrorist group launders its money through Bureau de Change.
There is an issue of moral bankruptcy on the part of the Federal Government to sustain the ban on Cryptocurrencies trading through CBN as there are indications that the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubukar Malami might still be trading in it. In a bid to prove that he(AGF) is serious about prosecuting Nigerians who are still actively using Twitter after FG’s ban, on a screengrabbed of his deactivated Twitter account, it was alleged he has an active Bitcoin trading activities going on. The question here is why are many young Nigerians deprieved of such legitimate earnings while its now made exclusive reserve of some privileged government officials. Some weeks ago, it was widely reported that the CBN is working on a plan to introduce its digital currency, and may roll it out by the end of 2021. The question here is why plunged many Nigerians into economic woes because of a monopolistic agenda? What becomes of “Free market?”
Lastly, in a world where the future is Artificial Intelligence(AI), Robotics, and Digital currencies , and also a prediction that Cryptocurrencies have a huge prospects of challenging traditional banking in few years to come, any forward thinking government will not only prepare to be part of such, it will never cut off its citizens from it as well. Any serious minded will rather regulate the space in a bid to be adequately prepared for such imminent shift and not ban what it doesn’t understand.
We are doing a lot of catch ups on many fronts of life, be it medicare, policing and technologically, we cannot afford to keep the list growing with the sustained ban on Cryptocurrencies.
Lambert and Curtis