Nigeria poised to power its economy with blockchain, $1.76 trillion at play

The Nigerian government has approved a new blockchain policy. The country wants to join the club of technologically advanced countries but shows no intention of allowing cryptocurrency.

Blockchain technology

Nigeria has made another step towards institutionalizing blockchain. On May 3, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), Nigeria’s cabinet, approved the implementation of the National Blockchain Policy (NBP) for Nigeria. The document, which hasn’t yet been revealed, is a follow-up to the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for 2020–2030, unveiled and launched by FEC in 2019.

$1.76 trillion worth of blockchain

The new policy was detailed in the press release posted on Twitter by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMCDE). The statement quotes PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) report predicting that the blockchain technology could generate $1.76 trillion for the global economy, and apparently, Nigeria wants a big bite of this cake.

The NBP was developed in a joint effort by stakeholders from the public and private sectors in line with the 7th Pillar of the NDEPS, titled “Digital Society and Emerging Technology.” The Pillar set out seven goals relevant to the digital economy, including poverty eradication, decent work and economic growth, industry innovation, and building sustainable cities.

CBDC-based financial inclusion

In the Pillar, the government also pledged to “prioritize financial inclusion with a view to reducing the current percentage of unbanked adults by 50% within the next 4 years.” So far, Nigeria has been trying to achieve that by limiting cash withdrawals to incentivize CBDC adoption and promoting a cashless economy.

The strategy proved a failure. As a result, the government started to ponder lifting the ban on crypto in December last year However, according to the recent news, Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission considers only permitting licensing digital exchanges for tokenized coin offerings backed by non-crypto assets, such as equity or property. In other words, the relaxation of crypto-related regulations may still be a distant possibility.

No trace of cryptocurrency in the blockchain policy

Unfortunately, the NBP press release is focused purely on blockchain and doesn’t contain a hint of any plans regarding cryptocurrencies. Nigeria’s ambition is to follow in the footsteps of technologically advanced countries in implementing blockchain.

“With the approval of the National Blockchain Policy, Nigeria joins the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Estonia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Denmark and other leading technology countries in adopting Blockchain Technology at the national level,” reads the statement.

All stakeholders on board

The policy implementation will be coordinated by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), aided by a multi-sectoral Steering Committee, and supervised by the FMCDE.

The push for blockchain is growing strong in Nigeria, with the government pressing “all other Federal and State Government institutions, as well as the private sector (...) to leverage Blockchain Technologies in education, health, security, agriculture and finance, among many other sectors” with the aim of advancing the implementation of the NDEP.