The Senate has warned Nigerians against investing in bitcoins and urged the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation to launch awareness campaigns on the business.
Specifically, the upper chamber of the National Assembly resolved to urge the CBN, NDIC and the NSE “to make an unequivocal statement across all the news platforms in all dialects on the dangers of bitcoins as a store of value in Nigeria.”
The Senate also called on the National Orientation Agency to “spread the news against all forms of wonder banks and ponzi schemes operating in Nigeria.”
Also, the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions is to investigate the viability of bitcoin as a form of investment and come up with recommendations on how to control its use and trade in it.
The committee was mandated to report to the Senate within two weeks.
The resolutions followed the adoption of a motion moved by Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu at the plenary on Tuesday, entitled, ‘Urgent Need to Investigate the Proliferation of Bitcoins, a Form of Crypto-currency to ascertain the Worthiness of Same As a Form of Investment in Nigeria.’
Uwajumogu said, “The Senate notes with caution the alarming rate at which bitcoin, a form of digital currency, is being proliferated in Nigeria as one of the best forms of investment. It notes further that this cryptocurrency is openly marketed across the country on the local television and radio stations, mostly to Nigerians not aware of the consequences.
“The Senate notes further with deep concern that Nigerians are freely advised and even persuaded to invest in this cryptocurrency, as it promises quick returns; in certain instances, a triple or quadruple of the invested sum as profit within days.”
According to the lawmaker, bitcoin is not recognised by the CBN as it does not exist in a tangible form and not subject to any international or local monetary regulations or backed up by any established government institution.
He stated, “The Senate recalls that the MMM bubble of 2016 left millions of Nigerian families broken, devastated and many businessmen lost all their capital in the phony scheme.
“The Senate is worried that the CBN, NSE, NDIC and NOA are not doing enough to educate Nigerians on the investment risks inherent in bitcoin. The Senate is cognisant that by failing, refusing or neglecting to educate the citizenry of the dangers inherent in investing in unverified schemes, especially one orchestrated by foreign syndicates, Nigerians run the risk of losing their life-savings and the economy risks losing the much needed forex to foreign criminals.”