What has become of the blockchain ecosystem since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) decided to restrict financial activities related to crypto assets?
In this week’s episode of Tech Trends, we had a chat with Barinor Kue, Legal Adviser, Blockchain Nigeria User Group, who shared his thoughts on the issue especially from a legal perspective.
CFA: Glad to have you on Tech Trends today.
Barinor: Thank you very much.
CFA: Alright. You see me smiling but I’m not even sure where to begin but, what has happened in the cryptocurrency ecosystem since the CBN’s restriction?
Barinor: A lot has actually happened since the restriction. Initially, the announcement actually threw the ecosystem into a lot of panic. People were actually wondering how they could continue with the cryptocurrency transaction in the middle of no access to bank services.
However, with time, people have actually devised a means — of course, it has always been there — the peer-to-peer way of transaction has always been there. It’s just that access to direct bank services, like converting fiat to cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency to fiat, that gateway actually made trading in cryptocurrency very easy.
Peer-to-peer comes with its challenge but I think most of those challenges have been surmounted and as you can see, most people are not even complaining again. They are just concentrating on doing their trading because they’ve discovered peer-to-peer and it’s working perfectly.
CFA: So, the question now is, was that move — restricting the ecosystem — a smart one? Because right now, if people are still carrying on as ‘business as usual’, and government has no clue, then, who is losing?
Barinor: Really, I think the government is losing. SEC actually put together a regulatory framework. It wasn’t perfect but at least, they made a statement on cryptocurrency and I think they would have been able to license, levy and tax crypto exchanges — different companies offering cryptocurrency services as exchanges.
And we can’t really have an indigenous exchange now, functioning very, well due to this restriction, and then we have a Nigerian with a whole volume making use of services of exchanges that are actually domiciled in other countries and are paying tax to those countries.
So, generally, Nigeria is losing as a country. I won’t just say it’s the government losing. I think as a whole, we are losing because despite the fact that we are actually benefitting from trading, despite the fact that we… (see full video here)
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