Nigerian Blockchain Policy Indicates Wholesale Adoption Coming

May 2023

At the start of May, a press release from Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy announced the approval of a policy designed to create a blockchain-powered economy for both public and private sectors in Nigeria where trust, innovation and wealth will improve thanks to the inherent benefits of blockchain technology. 

Notably, the announcement made no mention of cryptocurrencies (whilst crypto is not illegal in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria has banned commercial banks from engaging in crypto transaction) but instead highlighted the potential of blockchain solutions to innovate industries beyond just the financial, such as healthcare and supply chain management. In addition to benefits such as transparency and efficiency, the statement noted that blockchain could ‘boost innovation, improve public services, create job opportunities, and drive economic growth’, explaining why Nigeria is looking to implement blockchain solutions. This, along with an exhortation to all those involved in ‘education, health, security, agriculture and finance, among many other sectors’ to leverage blockchain technology, shows how widespread the adoption is likely to be in the country. 

With the development of the policy being carried out in conjunction with both public and private sectors, the idea that this move will benefit everyone is reinforced. The reach that the eventual deployment seems to be aimed at is particularly impressive as, although the National Information Technology Development Agency will be coordinating its implementation, other authorities are noted as being involved in the rollout of the policy, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, the National Universities Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Nigerian Communications Commission and undisclosed others, all under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. These bodies will be developing regulatory instruments - showing that the Nigerian government is keen to keep users and businesses safe from bad actors as they embrace the potential of new technology. 

As the country in Africa with the largest population and the largest economy, it may be that Nigeria’s decision will influence others to follow in their footsteps in embracing blockchain technology. Regardless of who begins to adopt these sorts of policies, the need for regulatory compliance is an essential part of the process. Without proper safeguards in place (and the means to implement them), users are at risk of fraud, scams and worse. 

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By Matthew Warner