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Advancing Cryptocurrency Regulation in Nigeria: A Critical Necessity

Adedeji Owonibi advocates for Nigerian cryptocurrency regulation to combat financial crimes and ensure the industry's security and scalability, addressing the complexities of tracking illicit transactions.


  • Feb 12, 2024 10:21
Advancing Cryptocurrency Regulation in Nigeria: A Critical Necessity

The call for cryptocurrency regulation in Nigeria has intensified, highlighting the urgent need to address financial crimes, particularly money laundering, within the burgeoning digital currency space. Adedeji Owonibi, the co-founder of A&D Forensics, has been at the forefront of this advocacy, emphasizing the role of regulation in curbing these illicit activities. His insights shed light on the complexities and challenges of cryptocurrency transactions, underscoring the imperative for government intervention through regulation.

Owonibi's stance on the matter is clear; without stringent regulation, the cryptocurrency sector in Nigeria remains a fertile ground for financial malfeasance. He argues that the Nigerian government needs to establish comprehensive laws governing cryptocurrency activities to deter and mitigate the risk of money laundering and other financial crimes. This perspective is particularly relevant in the wake of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) lifting its ban on crypto transactions, allowing banks to operate accounts for Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs)​​​​.

The importance of such regulation cannot be overstated, especially considering Nigeria's position as a significant player in the global cryptocurrency market. Despite previous regulatory challenges, including a ban by the CBN, cryptocurrency usage in Nigeria has seen a remarkable surge. The country ranks prominently in global crypto adoption indexes, driven by factors such as limited access to traditional banking services, currency depreciation, and inflation​​. This uptick in crypto activity, however, also raises the specter of increased financial crimes, making the call for regulation all the more critical.

Owonibi's insights also highlight the potential for regulatory frameworks to enhance the security and scalability of the crypto industry. He points out the developmental regulation crafted by The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as a significant step toward creating a favorable environment for blockchain and crypto industry growth. This move, according to Owonibi, is what the CBN should have considered back in 2021 instead of severing ties between cryptocurrency exchange firms and local banks​​.

Furthermore, Owonibi delves into the intricacies of tracking and investigating cryptocurrency fraud, revealing that while Over-The-Counter (OTC) transactions and crypto mixers pose challenges to law enforcement, advancements in regulatory technology and international cooperation are improving the ability to trace illicit activities. He emphasizes the evolving landscape of blockchain anonymity and the global efforts to establish standards for transaction traceability, underscoring the significance of regulatory measures in combating cryptocurrency scams​​.

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