Nigeria’s Central Bank has assured Nigerians that the trading of digital currencies will have a sure and safe haven in the country despite the ban by the regulator as a way of ensuring the safety of Nigerians. Godwin Emefiele, the apex bank chief disclosed while feeding questions from journalists at the just concluded 279th monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting held in Abuja that after a careful investigation, it is now certain as to what percentage of Nigerians are involved in the trading of cryptocurrency.
“We have carried out our investigation and we found out that a substantial percentage of our people are getting involved in cryptocurrency which is not the best. Don’t get me wrong, some may be legitimate but most are illegitimate. Under cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, Nigeria comes 2nd while on the global side of the economy, Nigeria comes 27th. We are still conducting our investigation and we will make our data available,” he said.
It can be recalled that the trading of digital currencies in Nigeria was brought to a halt by the CBN after the directive to deposit money banks and other financial institution from facilitating trades of the virtual currency. This has, however, created some dispute about the legal status of the digital asset in Nigeria. Meanwhile, a recent survey by Statista puts it that about 32 per cent of Nigerians use the virtual asset while the report further revealed that Nigeria ranked third, in terms of Bitcoin (the most popular crypto) trade volumes, just behind the United States and Russia in 2020.
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Of recent, the internet has been set ablaze while crypto traders are now left in their worries about the fate of their assets following the tweets by Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Incorporated concerning the currency which brought about a plunge in the market alongside other currencies. This event comes barely two months after the Tesla boss announced his investment of $1.5 billion into buying the currency. This has before now, led into several platforms and businesses began thinking in the crypto way while several central banks including the European Central Bank announcing its plans to roll out the Central Bank backed-digital currency (CBDC) to enable the trading of the digital asset with its legality in an economy.
Consequently, the apex bank chief has raised his concerns on the foregoing: “We saw the market collapse. Initially, when Elon Musk tweeted around the time when we said our banking and payment facilities are no longer available for cryptocurrency transactions and he tweeted that he will invest $1.5 billion and the price of Bitcoin went up. He now tweeted and raised a few concerns and the currency saw a plunged. We are committed in the CBN and I can assure everybody that digital currency will come to life even in Nigeria,” Emefiele stated.
Meanwhile, efforts are still underway between the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the framework for the terading of the virtual currency in the Nigerian economy.