Deal Or No Deal, Cryptocurrency Transactions Remain Legal In Nigeria And Environs.
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the inaugural edition of Blockchain
Street, we considered whether blockchain technology—a
decentralized ledger technology which has been described as a
‘trustless technology’—can really solve the problem
of trust in a centralized world.
In the month of July, we consider the legal status of
cryptocurrency deals in Nigeria and neighbouring African
countries—Ghana and Kenya. A consideration of this issue has
become pertinent in view of the public perception in Nigeria in
particular, and the disposition of law enforcement agents when
disputes connected to cryptocurrency transactions arise. At the
height of it, we have seen ill-informed FinTech companies illegally
confiscate legitimate funds belonging to users (cryptocurrency
traders who trade bitcoin on peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchanges)
of their platforms on the ground that the users are involved in
bitcoin or other cryptocurrency trading.
As a quick illustration, where a person defrauds another in the
process of transacting a business of supply of goods (e.g.
computers) or rendering of services (such as web development), does
that make the business of computer supply or web development
illegal? Certainly, the answer to the above question is an emphatic
Bearing the above illustration in mind, we shall then delve into
the subject of discourse in order to clarify the issues and set the
Dealing in or trading in cryptocurrency such as bitcoin for
example is not illegal under relevant laws.
No law in Nigeria, Ghana, or Kenya has made dealing in
cryptocurrency illegal or criminalized it, including cryptocurrency
trading. Engaging in cryptocurrency transactions does not amount to
“illegal transactions” under Kenyan, Ghanaian, and
Nigerian laws. It is what the user does with the cryptocurrency or
in the process of the transaction that determines illegality or
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Originally published August 6, 2020.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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