Nigeria, known to be one of the world’s most curious nations about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), has approved the National Blockchain Policy for Nigeria during its meeting on May 3, 2023. The approval was in response to a memo presented by Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.
The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMCDE), in the announcement, cited a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which predicts that the widespread adoption of blockchain technology across various industries could potentially contribute $1.76 trillion to the global gross domestic product by 2030, representing 1.4% of the world’s GDP.
The National Blockchain Policy for Nigeria was developed by the FMCDE through stakeholder consultations in both the public and private sectors. The Policy was developed on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, in line with the 7th pillar of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), which focuses on Digital Society and Emerging Technologies.
A draft of the Blockchain Adoption strategy, which was released in October 2020, stated that blockchain and decentralized ledger technology (DLT) would “facilitate the development of the Nigerian digital economy”.
The Policy aims to establish a blockchain-based economy that facilitates secure transactions, data sharing and value exchange among individuals, businesses and the government. This will foster innovation, trust, growth and prosperity for all stakeholders. The implementation of the National Blockchain Policy is expected to have a favorable impact on both the public and private sectors in Nigeria.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) will be responsible for coordinating the initiatives of the Policy under the supervision of the FMCDE. Additionally, a multi-sectoral Steering Committee has been established to oversee the implementation of the Policy.
The Federal Executive Council has instructed pertinent regulatory bodies, such as NITDA, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the National Universities Commission (NUC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to create regulatory frameworks for the implementation of blockchain technology in different sectors of the economy.
The strategy for blockchain adoption includes initiatives aimed at establishing a consortium for blockchain in Nigeria, strengthening the regulatory and legal framework, promoting digital identity, creating blockchain business incentive programs, fostering digital literacy and awareness of blockchain technology and establishing a national blockchain sandbox for testing and piloting.
Despite this new policy, transactions using cryptocurrency remain illegal in the country.