Hefty growth abounds for the Nigeria economy if the country embraces Blockchain technology. Some experts estimate that potential to be almost $30 billion in eight years. This is even as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has launched the e-naira, which depends on the technology.
Bolstering that claim, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has reinforced the need to position Nigeria strategically to leverage blockchain technology for rapid economic growth, safer digital transactions, and improved cross border trade.
Blockchain is an encrypted list of records distributed across multiple computer systems and stored in groups called blocks that are chronologically ordered and linked together.
Mrs Toki Mabogunje, President, LCCI, gave the advice at a webinar themed Unlocking the Opportunities of Blockchain Technology on Wednesday in Lagos.
She noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) proposed digital currency, e-Naira, built on blockchain, would create employment for the teeming youth, financial inclusion, faster and safer digital transactions, and reduced transaction risks.
Toki said, “Nigeria’s participation in the blockchain technology global market, especially in cryptocurrencies, has been recognised.
“According to Chainalysis (the blockchain data platform), Nigeria has the 8th highest crypto adoption in the world and generally, blockchain could potentially contribute up to $29 billion to Nigeria’s GDP by 2030.
“Unlocking these inherent potentials requires a level-playing field for all participants in both private and public sectors by eliminating entry barriers.
“This does not, however, imply total liberalisation or allowing self-rule to regulate the Nigeria blockchain ecosystem,” she said.
Mrs. Mabogunje advised that regulation of blockchain should be dynamic, robust, responsive, globally competitive and fit for the Nigerian context.
“This will give a fillip to the tech-savvy youth to innovate, spur confidence of tech investors, and attract significant investments in the blockchain ecosystem,” she said.
On his part, chief executive officer, Appzone Switch, Mr Uche Elendu, said that blockchain provided trust without human intermediaries, and auto-execute contracts transparently.
He listed the features of blockchain to include enhanced security, data immutability, transparency, privacy; and allowed peer to peer transactions without an intermediary.
He called for massive stakeholder education and sensitisation, and the creation of platforms for traditional veterans to collaborate with tech entrepreneurs to unlock the value in the technology.
“Blockchain has a governance and regulatory framework that ensures security audits would be done on smart contracts to verify that their logic is in line with rules of the business network.
“t is safe and secured, and is one of the biggest opportunities we can think of in the next decades.
“The proper implementation of blockchain technology would enable the cashless economy that the country has been trying to achieve,” he said.
Founder, Bantu Blockchain Foundation, Mr. Ernest Mbenkum, charged entrepreneurs to embrace blockchain technology, particularly, the African development model, “Bantu for improved global payment and trade.”
He revealed that the Bantu blockchain was designed to quickly and securely transfer, swap, and trade digital assets globally and at almost zero cost.
He noted that blockchain opportunities for Africa would dramatically increase local production and exports via asset tokenisation and reduce dependence on imports.
He said another opportunity for Africa was in the need for an open, secure and transparent Africa-led global infrastructure to unlock unlimited liquidity via resources and asset tokenisation and real-time value transfer.
Meanwhile, there has been growth in the trading of crypto-currency in Nigeria despite a CBN ban. Earlier this year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released a statement that essentially banned the use of bitcoin as well as other digital assets in the country.
While this was perceived by many to be the beginning of the end of crypto-currency in Nigeria, the situation however took another turn as crypto continues to bloom and flourish in the country. The ban has had little to no effect on cryptocurrency usage in the country as many have adjusted to the current situation, crypto users have found new ways to buy BTC in Nigeria and continue crypto trades.
Strict foreign exchange laws have been one of the factors that have aided the use and adoption of cryptocurrency in Nigeria despite the ban. A lot of people in the country have turned to bitcoin for foreign transactions, taking advantage of the decentralized nature of the currency. The ban does not affect the use of crypto for inter-border transfer so far it isn’t facilitated by a financial institution. Even before the ban, cross-border transactions have been one of the advantages of bitcoin over the naira and the ban has had little or no effect on it.