Nigeria Govt Asks Apex Bank to Rethink Role in Blockchain Technology, Pledges to Expand Banking License

Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said apex banks need to rethink their roles in the unfolded digital economy particulalry as it relates to blockchain technology.


Osinbajo who spoke at this year’s Nigeria Digital Economy Summit (NDES) with the theme “Web 3.0, Blockchain & DeFi: Impact on Africa’s Digital Economy”, also said that government is considering expanding banking licenses to enable more players in the financial mediation value chain.

“Even central banks will have to rethink their roles since blockchain will challenge the centralization of monetary authority with its clear imperfections. Who knows, we might actually be in the last days of the central banking system as we know it.”

According to the Vice President in its speech, Nigeria has already shown that it has the talent, creativity and acumen to build and grow major tech companies, pointing out that at the last count, the country has six unicorns and many more on the way, adding “we must spend time on the development of digital skills.”

he called for more synergy between government and the private sector in driving the digital economy revolution in the country, and added that both sectors must find ways to ensure “Policy is way ahead for development.”

“But I think most importantly, digitising government processes and services is a sleeping commercial giant. The whole range of government services will provide several opportunities for innovation,” Prof. Osinbajo observed.

The Vice President also noted the category of licences created and made available to some FinTech companies by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the past few years as a significant example of how government policy can drive innovation and economic growth.

“This category of banking licences accessible to fintech companies are at a far cheaper rate when compared to the cost of actual traditional banking licenses by the CBN,” the VP disclosed.

Osinbajo who was the Special Guest of Honour and Keynote Speaker at the event, noted that “A whole new world is unfolding before our very eyes, unlike Web 1 and 2 where we were relatively disadvantaged

“In 1989 we didn’t have mobile phones so we could not take advantage of the reach and depth that mobile telecoms gave digital innovation and financial inclusion. We are now better positioned to be significant players in Web 3,” he said.

According to him, we must think through and develop appropriate policies and regulations that promote, rather than inhibit, innovation and commerce. We can be world leaders in the Web 3 revolution. The only limit is our vision.

“Web 3 will also mean that the digitization of government’s services will come with more options, government agencies can then be smarter, faster and more efficient in delivering their services.

“From a policy perspective here in Nigeria, we may need to again expand the range of banking licenses available to enable more players in the financial mediation value chain.

“We must also set clear rules to enable crypto markets and trading in other digital assets. Identity in the Web 3 age is a key development. It means the user owns his or her own identity and personal data,” he said.

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