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Digital Assets Finds Its Place In Nigeria’s Elections

November 28, 2018

Cryptocurrency is not occupying center stage in just business circles and the environment but in politics too. This is quite evident in Nigeria’s general election for the presidential post where the biggest opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has added a complete policy on blockchain technology, as well as, digital coin in its manifesto. The move assumed significance since there is continued to be strong opinions against the emerging asset class and the falling trend only supports their perceptions.

Cautious Stance

Significantly, the Central Bank of Nigeria has been cautious in its stance on the cryptocurrency and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). At the same time, it has not taken any hostile stance towards the virtual asset. Therefore, the opposition presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar’s, decision to include the digital coin sector is a step in the direction of regulating it rather than ignoring it altogether. Of course, he is taking a gamble in igniting a fire to the country’s economy, which is facing sluggishness.

Atiku has served Nigeria’s Vice President during the period 1999 – 2007 and is projecting himself as a modernizer with the aim of disrupting the current environment and spark life. That is mainly because Nigeria is yet to recover from the double impact of a distressing recession of 2016 and the slump in international oil price at that point in time. The twin impact has erased 85 percent of its worth in less than two year period. The country is known to follow a conservative approach as far as financial regulation is concerned.

Banks Enjoy Influence

Interestingly, banks are enjoying a strong influence on not only regulatory processes but also decisions. This is also quite evident when authorities have consistently issued warning against the emerging asset class despite increasing awareness and adoption of digital currencies including Bitcoin. For instance, in January, the central bank governor termed bitcoin investment as nothing but a ‘gamble’ and called for regulation. Despite that, the country is having peer-to-peer digital coin trading platform with PundiX launching bitcoin payment products successfully.

Viewed against this backdrop, Atiku is trying to project his ambition of creating a big scale job creation for national security. He added, “My mission is to ensure that Nigeria’s economy is responsive to the challenges of the 21st-century knowledge economy by keeping with the amazingly dynamic technological pace.”

He promised to focus on economic growth with the help of DLT and regulating the emerging asset class. His plan envisages the creation of a complete policy on blockchain and digital coins by collaborating with necessary government agencies.

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