Lack of crypto regulation spurs growth of P2P in Nigeria—SIBAN

Lack of crypto regulation spurs growth of P2P in Nigeria—SIBAN

The Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SiBAN) has attributed the surge in peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto trading to the lack of regulation in the industry. President of SiBAN,  Obinna Iwuno made this statement during an online discussion on the state of web3 in Nigeria, amidst concerns of a potential government ban on P2P trading.

Iwuno emphasized that regulation would have encouraged Nigerians to trade through licensed exchanges, reducing the reliance on unregulated P2P platforms. He expressed concern that the government’s current stance may lead to the criminalization of crypto trading if not addressed. “If the government had regulated the industry, many Nigerians would have been trading through regulated exchanges and not through P2P,” he said.

SiBAN is advocating for regulation to clear the industry’s name and address allegations of currency manipulation. Iwuno stated, “Regulation will help us more than an unregulated sector would. We need to change the narrative and work with the government to achieve economic development and wealth creation through this technology.” He added that the industry needs to be regulated to prevent illegal activities and protect users.

The call for regulation comes as the government has forbidden banks and fintechs from processing crypto-related transactions, and a recent court order froze over 1,146 bank accounts allegedly involved in illicit foreign exchange dealings. Fintech startups, including Opay, Moniepoint, Paga, and Palmpay, have been directed to block accounts engaging in cryptocurrency transactions and report them to law enforcement agencies.

As the government classifies cryptocurrency trading as a national security issue, SiBAN urges stakeholders to speak out and promote understanding to avoid potential criminalization. Iwuno warned that if nothing is done, crypto trading may soon be criminalized, which would harm the industry and the economy. “We do not want to wake up one day and crypto has been criminalized and made illegitimate and illegal,” he said.

The recent clampdown on crypto trading has caused concern among stakeholders, with many calling for regulation to address the government’s concerns. SiBAN believes that regulation would help to prevent illegal activities and protect users, while also promoting economic development and wealth creation through blockchain technology.

In a message to its customers, one of the fintechs, OPay, said it would block any account found engaging in crypto-related transactions and forward the details of the account owner to the regulator. Other fintechs have sent similar warnings to their customers, highlighting the need for regulation to avoid potential legal issues.

As the situation unfolds, SiBAN and other stakeholders are urging the government to consider regulation instead of a blanket ban on crypto trading. With the potential for blockchain technology to drive economic growth and development, it is essential to find a solution that addresses the government’s concerns while also promoting innovation and progress.

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