Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has told the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that cryptocurrencies should be regulated and not prohibited.
The CBN had, in a circular on February 5, ordered all deposit money banks, non-banking institutions, and other financial institutions against enabling cryptocurrency trading.
The apex bank directed the institutions to close the accounts of customers linked with cryptocurrency transactions immediately, adding that a breach of the order would attract severe regulatory sanctions.
While briefing a joint Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions; ICT and Cybercrime; and Capital Market, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the decision was taken in the best interest of Nigerians.
However, Osinbajo, who spoke on Friday at the Bankers Committee Vanguard in Lagos, said that fear should not be applied in terms of cryptocurrencies.
The Vice President advised the monetary authorities to provide a “robust regulatory regime” that would address the concerns about cryptocurrencies.
Osinbajo said,”Some of the exciting developments we see call for prudence and care in adopting them, and this has been very well articulated by our regulatory authorities.
“But we must act with knowledge and not with fear. We must ensure that we are in a position to benefit and prevent any of the adverse side effects or any of the possible criminal acts that may arise as the consequence of our adopting or taking any of these options.
“I fully appreciate the strong position of the CBN, SEC, and some of the anti-corruption agencies on the possible abuses of cryptocurrencies and their other well-articulated concerns, but I believe that their position should be the subject of further reflection.
“There’s a role for regulation here, and it is in the place of our monetary authorities and SEC to provide a robust regulatory regime that addresses these serious concerns without necessarily killing the goose that might lay the golden eggs.”
While expressing optimism about cryptocurrencies, Osinbajo said in the coming years it “will challenge traditional banking, including reserve banking, in ways that we cannot yet imagine.”
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