THE BITCOIN AND BLOCKCHAIN REVOLUTION
editorAugust 23, 2019 4:06 Am
Nigeria needs to pay attention to digital currency, writes Gaius Chibueze
At the point of economic bankruptcy, Venezuela’s best-surviving bet was to turn to digital currency. The country just like Nigeria has oil and over depended on it.
Before the Venezuelan government rolled out their own digital currency called the Petro, many smart Venezuelans already turned to digital currency like Bitcoin to safeguard their savings and wealth before their own country currency called Bolivar became totally worthless.
In UAE this year, we witnessed the collaboration between the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Both countries signed an agreement to test run cryptocurrency and blockchain for money transactions between the two countries. The digital currency, called Aber, is being tried to see whether it can be leveraged on to reduce remittance costs.
According to Bloomberg,the people’s Bank of China is close to issuing its own cryptocurrency after the banks’ researchers have been working since last year to develop digital currency system for the count
In 2017, the cryptocurrency market surpassed the $100billion barrier. The same year, the price of bitcoin, the flagship of this extremely popular digital or virtual currency rose by 1,318 percent compared to just 15 -30 percent for most major equity indexes. And currently, we have a market capitalization that’s close to $300 billion. While price overtime fluctuates with all the speculations around Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, we must not base the impact and growth of this nascent industry on price alone. The main future and biggest impact lie in the technology underpinning this innovation called blockchain.
In Africa, cryptocurrency is hugely misunderstood and still in its infancy. However, countries such as Kenya has embraced it wholeheartedly while Nigeria and indeed many countries on the continent have maintained a lukewarm attitude to it and in the process turned its back on its huge potential. Recently, Kenya’s M -Pesa system, its mobile phone transfer, and micro-financing service has a bitcoin device which has made it possible for one in three Kenyans to own a bitcoin wallet. This reality has positive repercussions in the present and the future. Unfortunately, this giant leap is in sharp contrast with the attitude and policy thrust of Nigeria’s central government so far. As a matter of fact, the relevant authorities in Nigeria view cryptocurrency with suspicion and in extreme cases equate it with pyramid schemes. As a result, bitcoin traders have been denigrated, harassed, intimidated and erroneously labeled as scammers.
The result is that while some countries such as Kenya have positioned themselves to reap from the enormous gains of the cryptocurrency revolution, Nigeria has so far walked away from this unfolding new economic order. It would be a huge mistake of epic proportions for this faulty policy to take a foothold in Nigeria.