Osinbajo Disagrees With Emefiele On Crypto-Currency Ban

…Tells CBN, SEC To Develop Regulation

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday disagreed with the Central Bank of Nigeria to ban Crypto-Currencies transactions in the country.

Osinbajo who spoke at the CBN/Bankers Committee’s Initiative for Economic Growth in Lagos called on the CBN and the Securities and Exchange Commission to put in place robust framework for the regulation of Crypto-Currencies.

The CBN had earlier this month ordered banks to close accounts linked to crypto-currency related transactions saying the currency is used to facilitate illicit transaction.

The apex bank had insisted that it is the only legal institution in the country that has the right to float a legal tender.

The Securities and Exchange Commission had last year issued a framework on Crypto-Currency regulation in the country. But on Thursday last week, it made a U-turn and backed the apex bank decision on Cryptos.

SEC had said that the CBN ban was consistent with its regulation as both parties were finding ways of securing investors and protecting the financial ecosystem of the country.

Nigeria is not the only country that had clamped down on Cryptos, as the European Union Central Bank last month accused Bitcoin of aiding money laundering and called for global regulation of crypto-currencies.

Also, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission had in January warned investors against “too-good-to-be-true opportunities” in the crypto-currency space.

But Osinbajo said there is need to prepare for the imminent change as blockchain technology generally and Crypto-Currencies in particular will in the coming years challenge traditional banking, including reserve banking, in ways that the World cannot yet imagine.

He said, “Clearly the future of money and finance, especially for traditional banking, must be as exciting as it is frightening. But as we have seen in many other sectors disruption makes room for efficiency and progress.

“I fully appreciate the strong position of the CBN, SEC and some of the anti corruption agencies on the possible abuses of Crypto-Currencies and their other well articulated concerns, but I believe that their position should be the subject of further reflection.

“There is a role for regulation here. And it is in the place of both our monetary authorities and SEC to provide a robust regulatory regime that addresses these serious concerns without killing the goose that might lay the golden eggs.

“In a similar context, it is clear to government that we must find a way of moving the Nigerian digital economy into overdrive.

He added, “The point am making is that some of the exciting developments that we see call for prudence and care in adopting them and these have been very well articulated by our regulatory authority. But we must act with knowledge and not with fear.

“We must ensure that we are in a position to benefit and to prevent any of the adverse side effects or any of the possible criminal acts that may arise in consequence of adopting or taking any of these options.”

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