Nigerian policymakers intend to legalise cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin within the country aiming to build an “efficient and vibrant capital market”.

Nigerian publication Punch Newspapers broke the news yesterday after an interview with House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets Chairman Babangida Ibrahim confirmed the plans to pass law on recognising cryptocurrencies after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) initially banned all forms of crypto activity in February 2021. 

The reversal of the ban comes at a time when the country launched its own digital currency, the eNaira, in October 2021, which has seen a 190.1% growth rate since its launch as Nigeria continues to build its digital economy. 

The move to legalise all forms of cryptocurrencies will be sealed in the Investments and Securities Act 2007 bill which would “recognise cryptocurrency and other digital funds as capital for investment”. 

Ibrahim explained: “Like I said earlier during the second reading, we need an efficient and vibrant capital market in Nigeria. For us to do that, we have to be up to date global practices. 

“In recent times, there are a lot of changes within the capital market, especially with the introduction of digital currencies, commodity exchanges and so many other things that are essential that need to be captured in the new act. Like I said, it is better to talk about this after consideration of the reports.

“When it comes to digital currencies, they have different names and it depends on the jurisdiction. These currencies don’t have boundaries. You can stay here in Nigeria and invest in the United States, Canada or anywhere.”

Despite becoming more open to crypto adoption within Nigeria, Ibrahim also noted that this latest regulatory update on digital assets is not an entire departure from the CBN’s initial ban on cryptocurrencies – but more in line with stricter regulations surrounding them. 

“It is not about lifting of the ban, we are looking at the legality: what is legal and what is within the framework of our operations in Nigeria. The CBN is regulating financial markets and the Securities Exchange Commission regulates the capital market,” added Ibrahim. 

The CBN and Securities Exchange Commission of Nigeria will oversee guidelines related to digital assets and cryptocurrencies once the Investments and Securities Act 2007 becomes updated.