At a 279th meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee in Abuja, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, expressed confidence that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) will be legal in the country, Business Insider reported on Wednesday.
Emefiele didn’t directly mention a decision to lift CBN’s February ban on institutions buying and selling crypto, but noted that the bank has been researching the industry:
“We are involved in the CBN and I can assure everyone that the digital currency will also come to life in Nigeria […] Nigeria ranks 2nd among cryptocurrency and bitcoin, while Nigeria ranks 27th on the global side of the economy. We are still conducting our investigations and will provide our data. “
Emefiele also said the Nigerian government would do its best to prevent crypto from being used to fund illegal activities. “We found that a significant percentage of our employees deal with cryptocurrency, which is not the best. Don’t get me wrong, some may be legitimate, but most are illegitimate, ”he said.
The banker also expressed concern over the mid-May crypto market crash, largely driven by Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s decision to suspend Bitcoin payments for cars and his continued criticism of BTC:
“We saw the market collapse. When Elon Musk tweeted at the time we said our banking and payment options for cryptocurrency transactions were no longer available, he first tweeted that he was going to invest $ 1.5 billion and the price went up. He’s now tweeted and raised a few concerns, and that thing fell. “
The CBN did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.
As previously reported, as of August 2020, Nigeria has become the largest source of Bitcoin trading volume in Africa and has also become one of the fastest growing crypto markets in the world. According to the Bitcoin P2P marketplace Paxful, Nigeria ranked second in trading volume after the US in December 2020.
Amid the rampant adoption of Bitcoin, Nigeria’s national currency, the naira, has fallen. “Bitcoin has made our currency almost unusable or worthless,” said Senator Sani Musa of the Niger East Senatorial District in February. According to Emefiele’s latest remarks, the naira fell 1.2% on Thursday to almost a three-and-a-half year low on the black market.