Blockchain Regulation NCC’s New Move Towards More Business Opportunities for Nigeria’s Digital Economy

A new vestige that the blockchain technology is set to open new business opportunities for Nigerians even as the nation battles with the scourge of employment, may just be on the horizon.PLACE YOUR ADVERT HERE

The green light that business opportunities beckon in the blockchain technology was flagged by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) last week when in Abuja, the Nigerian capital city, it hosted key stakeholders from the public sector and enthusiasts of technology for development to deliberate on the benefits derivable from emerging technologies such as Blockchain.

The interest of NCC as a regulation in the industry and its decision to use her experience in policy framework development to create a level playing field for all stakeholders excited participants at the one-day event, which the NCC said was designed advance the growth of the Nigerian economy.

And like as the NCC’s Director, New Media and Information Security, Dr. Haru Al-Hassan, who delivered the opening speech at the event, on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030 instituted by the Federal Government as well as regulatory initiatives by the Commission, have been significant enablers of Blockchain and emerging technologies in the country.

The blockchain technology, the pivot on which the bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and their likes rotate has had much impact on other economies of the world, although Nigeria is yet to catch up with the others, that underscore the need for proper regulation by the NCC.

The industry is in no doubt sure of the ability of the Commission to keep the nation safe on the waters of the blockchain technology to enjoy the fruits thereof just like other countries.

And according to Al- Hassan, “good regulatory policies are the bedrock of innovation and growth, and it is the aspiration of the Commission that Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs) otherwise known as Blockchain, and other innovative technologies and services would continue to thrive and contribute to the growth and development of Nigeria.”

There are several success stories that reveal that the NCC in its move to put-forth regulatory policies on blockchain is a decision in the right direction.

For instance, Coinbase one of the world’s bitcoin companies is set to take over Turkish crypto exchange ‘BtcTurk’ in a whopping $3.2 billion deal.

Starting from May, the world’s second-largest crypto exchange will oversee BtcTurk.

According to some rumours, the original acquisition was pegged at around $5 billion, but after lengthy negotiations concerning the decline of both the Turkish lira and Bitcoin, a $3.2 billion deal was finally agreed upon.

Launched in 2013, BtcTurk is a centralized exchange based in Istanbul, Turkey.

It claims to be the first cryptocurrency exchange in Turkey with over 4.5 million registered users. The platform allows deposits and withdrawals to be made in the Turkish lira via integration with seven Turkish Banks.

Report by the DailyCoin, a blockchain technology reporting website stated that those signed up to BtcTurk PRO can trade with other Turkish users, withdraw Bitcoin without any transfer fees, and are subject to lower exchange fees.

The report said that Binance, the only crypto exchange platform above Coinbase by trade volume, which also operates in Nigeria, opened a customer support center in Turkey earlier this month.

The two crypto exchange giants clearly envision a big market opportunity in the country, due in part to its strategic location as part of both Europe and Asia.

Only recently, the DailyCoin reported that the Central African Republic has become the first country in Africa, and the second in the world after El Salvador, to make Bitcoin a national currency.

According to Forbes, the Minister of Digital Economy, and Telecommunications, Gourna Zacko, and the Minister of Finance and Budget, Calixte Nganongo, drafted a bill and framework for cryptocurrency regulation, making Bitcoin an official currency of the country.

The report said: “With cryptocurrencies, the Central African Republic is moving towards a new, avant-garde path of development and economic performance, a dynamic field which is popular among investors around the world, and ever-present as full-fledged assets in the portfolios of the world’s largest financial players.”

Bitcoin will be accepted as payment throughout country, along with CAR’s national currency – the Central African CFA franc just like the eNaira that was recently introduced in Nigeria.

The overwhelming support for the blockchain regulation by the NCC is no doubt in the right direction as echoed by the Director-General, Bureau of Public Sector Reforms (BPSR), Dr. Dasuki Arabi, who stated that there are several initiatives of government towards harmonizing emerging technologies with the contemporary public service sector in a way that strengthens the efficiency of the public sector.

The Commission is not the first government agency across the global that has taken the right step towards regulating the blockchain technology as reports revealed that across MEA and including Africa like the CAR, regulation is no longer a new trend.

For instance, President Joe Biden signed off on new crypto legislation related to taxes in the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill late last year.

And the Federal Reserve is toying with the idea of issuing a U.S. digital currency.

The stakeholders, who spoke in turn at the workshop, acknowledged and profoundly appreciated the role of NCC in engendering a dynamic digital regulatory environment, the remarkable contribution to the growth and development of novel and emerging technologies, and NCC’s adoption of adaptive mechanisms that have enhanced emerging technologies in Nigeria.

A stakeholder at the dialogue, Amaka Ukwueze of University of Ilorin, Kwara State applauded the Commission for taking the lead in discussions on DLTs since Nigeria does not have a clear-cut Blockchain policy yet.

According to Ukwueze, the Federal Government needs to adopt blockchain deployment actively, promote legal certainty for blockchain applications, and provide a flexible and adaptive regulatory environment that fosters innovation.

With this huge support, it is clear that the NCC is convincingly set for effective regulation of blockchain as canvassed by the stakeholders.


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