Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has told the Central Bank of Nigeria that cryptocurrencies should be regulated and not prohibited.
The CBN had, a few weeks ago, ordered all deposit money banks, non-banking institutions, and other financial institutions against enabling cryptocurrency tradings.
The apex bank ordered the institutions to close the accounts of customers with cryptocurrency transactions immediately, adding that a breach of the directive will attract severe regulatory sanctions.
According to the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who shed more light on the decision, it was taken in the best interest of Nigerians.
He said this while briefing a joint Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions; ICT and Cybercrime; and Capital Market.
However, Osinbajo, who spoke on Friday at the Bankers Committee Vanguard in Lagos, said that fear should not be applied in terms of cryptocurrencies.
The Vice President advised the monetary authorities to provide a “robust regulatory regime” that will address the concerns about cryptocurrencies.
“The point I’m making is that some of the exciting developments we see call for prudent and care in adopting them, and this has been very well articulated by our regulatory authorities,” he said.
“But we must act with knowledge and not with fear. We must ensure that we are in a position to benefit and prevent any of the adverse side effects or any of the possible criminal acts that may arise as the consequence of our adopting or taking any of these options.
He said, “I fully appreciate the strong position of the CBN, SEC, and some of the anti-corruption agencies on the possible abuses of cryptocurrencies and their other well-articulated concerns, but I believe that their position should be the subject of further reflection.
“There’s a role for regulation here, and it is in the place of our monetary authorities and SEC to provide a robust regulatory regime that addresses this serious concerns without necessarily killing the goose that might lay the golden eggs.”
Expressing optimism about cryptocurrencies, Osinbajo said in the coming years it “will challenge traditional banking, including reserve banking, in ways that we cannot yet imagine.”