Nigeria Presidential Candidate Promises Federal Government Will Support Crypto And Blockchain
Former Vice President and now Nigeria’s leading opposition presidential candidate has promised to work towards constituting blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation if elected as the country’s next head of state.
Launching his policy document ahead of the February 2019 general elections, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Atiku Abubakar plans to make blockchain and crypto an integral part of the party’s effort to stimulate the economy.
In his policy document titled ‘Get Nigeria Working Again,’ the opposition frontrunner wants to see the emerging technology industry regulated to help create thousands of employment opportunities as well as generating income for the government.
To make this achievable, the politician has promised to champion for the creation of a “comprehensive policy on blockchain and digital currencies by relevant government agencies.”
Atiku’s sentiments are not a complete surprise, given the uptick in awareness about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the West African country, both in usage and as investment tools.
But it does strike a curious cord; now that the Central Bank of Nigeria, the country’s top financial regulator continues to caution the public against crypto albeit doing so without being overly hostile towards cryptocurrencies or crypto-related businesses.
Embracing Bitcoin and crypto for the economy
Nigeria’s economy suffered from a devastating recession in 2016, which, unfortunately, came at a time when oil prices around the world slumped to the floor. The country’s local fiat currency Naira collapsed then, the twin attack wiping up to 85 percent off the currency’s value.
The economy is, therefore, a big topic in the current campaigns and Atiku has chosen to ride the wave by adopting the modernizer tag. His approach is to steer off tradition by seeking out crypto as a potential spark for the country’s napping economy.
At the moment, Nigeria’s regulatory environment remains mostly conservative, and much will need to be done to bring banks and other cautious financial players onside.
The central bank and other government authorities have continued to issue statements that describe bitcoin as risky and a “gamble,” suggesting that regulatory oversight would be better for the public.
Despite these seemingly negative sentiments, Nigeria remains one of Africa’s top markets for crypto, with its peer-to-peer trading volumes rising over the last two years. A noticeable spike is observed during 2016 when the Naira was collapsing.
It is against this background that the opposition leader is hoisting part of his economic policy with job creation a top priority that is achievable via embracing crypto technology.
While launching his policy document last Saturday, Atiku said:
“My mission is to ensure that Nigeria’s economy is responsive to the challenges of the 21st-century knowledge economy by keeping with the amazingly dynamic technological pace.”
The presidential candidate, seen as a serious contender who could unseat the incumbent, emphasizes in the policy document that blockchain and crypto will catalyze economic growth.
He envisions an ecosystem that is “regulated and managed” so that it helps shape the economy via extensive job opportunities for the people and revenue for the government.
Part of his document reads:
“Regulation will provide clarity for informed decision making, in this $278 billion industry that consists of 1,800 currency types.”
The crypto market has experienced a marked downturn over much of the year, with last week’s sell-off leading to bitcoin prices hitting a new low that currently stands at slightly above $3,900.
The entire cryptocurrency market valuation has also seen several billion dollars worth of crypto wiped off, presently at $128 billion according to XBT.net.
But despite this downturn, Atiku’s views about the cryptocurrency industry in Nigeria are quite significant.
Other than putting cryptocurrency regulation top of the political agenda, his sentiments make it possible to see the country’s crypto market get massive exposure from a population nearing 200 million people.
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.