Nigeria may be on the point of signing a bill to legalise the use of cryptocurrencies, according to a local media report.
The report in a Nigerian newspaper cited the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Institutions, Babangida Ibrahim, as saying the chamber will soon pass a law allowing digital currencies.
The change will be made through an amendment to the Investment and Securities Act 2007. It will enable the Securities and Exchange Commission to recognise crypto as capital for investment.
In an interview with The Punch, Ibrahim said that Nigeria must be open to global innovations.
“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.”
The comments mark a U-turn for the Nigerian government, which effectively banned crypto currencies in February last year. In a letter, the government banned regulated financial institutions from dealing in cryptocurrencies.
In a September blog, Chainalysis said this ban doesn’t appear to have affected crypto in the country, but it has changed usage.
It said Nigeria has one of the most vibrant crypto markets in Africa. Since the ban, Nigerians have begun trading directly with each other, sourcing deals through apps such as WhatApp and Telegram.
Chainalysis said its data doesn’t reflect this peer-to-peer activity, which it said has now become a major part of the Nigerian crypto market.