Nigeria goes blockchain: Policy could impact digital identity

The approval of the National Blockchain Policy for Nigeria has left the nation’s crypto community over the moon as it signals room for more development in the nation’s crypto industry. Some local experts have expressed their opinions about the implications of this new policy and the blockchain ecosystem in Nigeria.

The government of Nigeria approved a National Blockchain Policy during a meeting on May 3, 2023. A policy draft stated that blockchain and decentralized ledger technology would “facilitate the development of the Nigerian digital economy.” Cointelegraph contacted the local blockchain ecosystem to understand how the industry and the community accept the policy. 

Olajide Abiola, the co-founder and CEO of KiaKia – a Nigerian fintech company – expressed delight at the development. Olajide said the blockchain technology policy can potentially impact various areas of governance and policy-making in Nigeria.

He further stated that if the blockchain policy is leveraged correctly, it could help manage digital identity, creating a tamper-proof digital identity for citizens to authenticate and access government services securely. With the proper regulations, blockchain technology could also impact e-payments and billings in Nigeria, Olajide stated.

Considering that the technology is yet to be imbibed into the day-to-day activities of Nigerians, businesses can reduce costs and improve cash flow by offering secure and transparent payment options, with consumers benefiting from faster and more convenient transactions. This increased efficiency and convenience can lead to increased economic activity and growth.

The Federal Executive Council, alongside approving the policy, instructed relevant regulatory bodies to create regulatory frameworks for implementing blockchain technology in different sectors of the economy.

Local blockchain expert Barnette Akomolafe from the crypto exchange app M7pay also spoke about how great of a milestone it is for governments to recognize the potential of blockchain technology. According to Akomolafe, governments can encourage innovation and investment in blockchain technology through policies and regulations. This move could lead to economic growth and job creation for Nigerian youth.

Binance’s West and East Africa director, Nadeem Anjarwalla, commented that through the approval of the policy, Nigeria is positioning itself as a nation ahead of the curve, thereby supporting further blockchain innovation, user protection, security and economic competitiveness in the long term.

Related: Tokens but not crypto: Nigeria SEC prepares new digital asset rules

Anjarwalla commended the comprehensive approach taken in the reviewed policy document based on the six key initiatives, which include the establishment of Nigeria’s blockchain consortium, strengthening of the regulatory and legal framework, the focus of the provision of national digital identity, promotion of blockchain digital literacy and awareness, the creation of blockchain business incentive programs, and establishment of a national blockchain sandbox for proof of concepts and pilot implementation.

Nigeria is known to be one of the world’s most curious nations about cryptocurrencies.

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