Nigeria’s Central Bank Kickstarts Blockchain Technology Initiatives – CBN

by Ike Obudulu Last updated on August 26th, 2017,

Abuja, Nigeria. According to the Head Payments System Policy and Oversight, Musa Itopa Jimoh, Central Bank of Nigeria , CBN, and Monetary Authorities have decided to turn on their antennas to pay huge attention to the disruption permeating the finance system by the blockchain technology.

A lot of countries including Jamaica are already seeing the great benefits aligned with cryptocurrency and are making moves to see how it can benefit the economy of their nations. Musa also stated that very soon, as cautious as they might have been, all Central Bank Authorities worldwide won’t eventually have a choice than to legitimately make use of the blockchain technology to drive financial services which includes the issuance of digital currency. In Musa’s word;

Nigeria’s position is very clear. We cannot stop the tide of waves generated by the Blockchain technology and its derivatives. However the Central Bank has the responsibilities of ensuring price and financial system stability. This is why digital currency issuance becomes a major concern to the Central bank of Nigeria. To this end, the Central bank of Nigeria has kick started several initiatives and research works to identify the various use cases of Blockchain Technology Including the issuance of Digital currency using the Blockchain technology.

A group has therefore been created (Blockchain Nigeria User Group) to raise awareness on Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency in Nigeria most especially amongst stakeholders including the regulatory authorities.

It was reported recently by the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) that the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) is “building cryptocurrency awareness.” The Deputy Governor of the BOJ, Livingstone Morrison provided this statement on Wednesday, 23rd August, 2017 at the central bank’s quarterly media briefing. He mentioned that the central bank must create opportunities for the exploitation of certain technologies, including cryptocurrency, while identifying that such technologies should not pose undue risk to the local financial system.

An internal group of persons has been established by the Bank to build awareness of these kinds of technological happenings across the world. “They (the group) are also guiding regional efforts. In this particular development (use of cryptocurrencies), whatever we do in Jamaica will have a ripple effect across the region, certainly if the benefits are to be fully accessed,” Morrison said.

The Deputy Governor stated that the benefits available to Jamaica “lie in embracing the wider use of opportunities that the current technology provides”.

The state sponsored outlet named a Bitcoin wallet and money transfer service called Caricoin is exploring opportunities for establishment in Jamaica, noting that they have been in discussion with the central bank. The UK-based company has been working to enter the Jamaican market since 2016, and is attempting to offer Jamaicans an easy onramp into the world of cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange like normal currencies, such as the United States dollar, but is designed for the purpose of exchanging digital information through a process made possible by certain principles of cryptography. In its simplest form, cryptocurrency is digital currency.

Begins Trading: Egypt Catches The Bitcoin Bug

Following the “conquest” of China,  Cryptocurrencies which allow anonymous peer-to-peer transactions between individual users without the need for banks or central banks get an exchange in Egypt, North Africa. Egypt’s first bitcoin exchange will go live later this month, the founders of Bitcoin Egypt said. The founders linked the North African country with a cryptocurrency that has surged in value in recent months. Egypt, most of whose 93 million people have no bank accounts, but where electronic payments have grown in recent years, lacks regulations for digital currency.

This means local retailers cannot accept it as payment, but users on an exchange may be left to trade freely, potentially cashing in on its ascent.

“We’re still waiting on the Egyptian government to set some kind of regulations…Without any laws, bitcoin is not legal money in Egypt,” said Bitcoin Egypt founder Rami Khalil.

He said the exchange has picked up about 300 pre-registrations from users ahead of its launch.

The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority is Egypts financial markets regulator.

Khalil and co-founder Omar Abdelrasoul see their platform connecting a community of several thousand bitcoin enthusiasts who will for the first time be able to trade in Egyptian pounds.

The pounds have roughly halved in value since November after flotation under an International Monetary Fund loan programme.

“Cryptoassets are happening whether (the Egyptian government) joins in or not. And by not joining they’re missing out on a very big market.

Currently bitcoin is about a 70 billion dollars market,” said Khalil.

“We’re trying to get people used to the idea of bitcoin, to ready the market so that in a couple of years we will reach a greater number of users. But for now we are trying to let people know what cryptocurrency is,” said Abdelrasoul.

Bitcoin’s lack of central authority makes it attractive to those wanting to get around capital controls. This has helped it proliferate in China, the world’s most active bitcoin market, but has led some governments to crack down on its use to prevent money laundering.

Many governments around the world are still mulling how to regulate and classify bitcoin, a volatile digital currency that has captured the interest of speculative investors worldwide. Its value has soared, roughly quadrupling since the start of 2017 and trading at around 4,400 dollars on Thursday.

Photo: Bitcoins

Dynamics that could propel bitcoin in Egypt, iclude a shortage of hard currency after the 2011 uprising sharply and restricted bank transfers among others. Meanwhile, liquidity at banks has improved and capital controls have been lifted in recent months, businesses still resort to a black market for dollars to obtain currency not available in the formal banking system.

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