Lawmaker in Nigeria have resolved to investigating the use of digital currencies, bitcoin and Ponzi schemes in the country.
With more concern about the fast spread of Bitcoin trading like wild fire, the Senate in a motion titled, ‘Urgent need to investigate the proliferation of Bitcoin, a form of Crypto-currency, to ascertain the worthiness of same as a form of investment in Nigeria’, the senate stressed that not only has the proliferation of bitcoin become one of the best forms of investment in the country, it is openly marketed across the country on the local television and radio stations, mostly to Nigerians, ”not aware of the consequences.”
Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele likened the trade in the digital currency to gambling, and urged for caution in a Jan. 24 interview. “We cannot as a central bank give support to situations” where people risk savings to “gamble,” he said.
Emefiele joined regulators globally who have expressed concern about bitcoin, one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, because of high volatility and a perception that it facilitates crime. In January 2017, the central bank released a circular to lenders asking them not to use, hold, or trade virtual currencies pending “substantive regulation and or decision by the CBN.”
Also adding to the motion, Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) urged Nigerians as well as relevant intelligence agencies to learn from the MMM saga.
“Many lost their lives due to MMM. No country, no intelligence agency will allow financial scams like MMM, Bitcoin to operate in the borders of their country. Nigeria is so docile that everything comes in.
“If it is a lottery, it should go through national lottery commission, if it is a form of exchange of currency, the CBN can regulate that. The motion is coming because as a senate we need to defend the people,” he said.
The Senate committee is expected to make recommendations within two weeks, Ekweremadu said.