Nigeria is known to have one of the biggest and fastest growing bitcoin markets in the whole of Africa. The authorities in the country have apparently caught wind of this and now want to examine the phenomena and decide what they can try and do about it.
Nigerian Lawmakers Want to Know How to Control Bitcoin
The Senate of Nigeria, the upper house of the Nigerian legislature, has ordered an investigation into bitcoin trading in the country. The Committee on Banking and Other Financial Institutions received two weeks to “investigate the viability of bitcoin as a form of investment” and “come up with recommendations on how to control its uses and trade,” Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu explained.
The lawmakers also asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to launch a campaign against the risks of trading bitcoin. The Senate urged these institutions to issue clear statements in all the dialects spoken in Nigeria about the dangers of storing value with cryptocurrency. This came after last week when CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said that: “Cryptocurrency or bitcoin is like a gamble, and there is a need for everybody to be very careful.”
Private Trading Groups are Hard to Probe
Unfortunately for those that want to control the uses and trade of bitcoin in Nigeria, the market in the country is more decentralized than most places and thus resilient towards outside influence. This is because a large volume of trade goes on in private groups rather than in the open, according to reports from the region.
While Nigerian P2P exchanges experienced record growth recently, the prevalence of scammers in the country pushed many traders into dozens of informal venues on Telegram, where trusted members are only trading among themselves. These groups reportedly vet the IDs and banking documentation of anyone that wishes to join themselves, and are therefore hard to infiltrate. Actual transfers are also made in person, and in secluded places like homes or the back of small shops.