CBN to Harness Opportunities in Fintechs


Ikenna Ekwerike
The Deputy Governor, Economic policy, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Okwu Nnanna has expressed confidence in the ability of financial technologies and digital currencies to impact positively on financial system stability and general economic development.

This was contained in his opening remarks at the Cryptography Development Initiative in Nigeria (NDIN) during their Nigeria Blockchain Alliance (NBA) conference held in Lagos recently. The theme of the conference was: ‘National Development in the Era of Distributed Ledger Technology and Digital Currency.’

Nnanna stated that the theme of the conference offers a unique opportunity to reflect once again on the impact of financial technologies and digital currency on financial system stability and economic development.

The CBN Deputy Governor, represented by Dr. Emmanuel Adamgbe argued that “financial innovations add to a country’s financial sector competitiveness and sophistication, while facilitating greater productive investment.”

He, therefore expressed optimism that financial innovations can help Nigeria improve payment system efficiency, eliminate incidences such as counterfeit currencies in transactions, build virtual financial communities across continents, foster greater trade and exchange as well as provide a diversified portfolio of investment for individuals, households and firms.

He however, harped on the need to develop an appropriate framework to regulate the system considering the potential threats that go with it. “We should be mindful of the challenges posed by distributed ledger technology and digital currencies which can lead to boom-bust in the domestic asset markets,” he concluded.

Also speaking at the event, Chief Information Security Officer, CBN, Dr. Rakiya Mohammed, who was guest speaker at the conference, said government was not averse to innovations but had certain concerns which include consumer right, tax evasion, and money laundering, among others.
She said that the CBN was studying the phenomenon and would soon make formal pronouncements and probably come up with necessary framework to regulate blockchain technology and digital currency in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Crypto experts who spoke at the conference said bitcoin and other digital currencies have already become global phenomena. They shared their experiences and explained how the system works.
Ray Youssef from the USA and CEO of PAXFUL, a global marketplace for bitcoin that operates in the US and Africa and powered by people and blockchain said they provide support for bitcoin users and educate new entrants on the opportunities for entrepreneurs and individuals.

Represented by PAXFUL Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Artur Schaback, Youssef noted that Nigerians were already taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the bitcoin technology to better their lives.

“35 percent traffic on PAXFUL is from Nigeria. Africa is our biggest market with our highest numbers coming from Nigeria and Ethiopia. We are proud to say that one-third of PAXFUL community are from Nigeria which is our number one country by volume; which is why we would be opening our technology space here soon,” he said.

He revealed that PAXFUL had been successful over the years because it built a safe and secure platform for trade. “If you are a buyer you are 100 percent protected. We verify and check all our sellers for safety, you can pay with confidence with 2-factor authentication, escrow, highest level encryption and professional audited security,” he stated.