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Nigeria’s NITDA Plans Blockchain ‘Nigerium’ to Boost Digital Economy

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Nigeria is poised to launch its own blockchain system named Nigerium, designed to bolster the country’s data sovereignty and revolutionise digital transactions across various sectors.

The initiative, led by Nigeria’s National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA), aims to address challenges related to data security and transparency.

Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi, disclosed this during a meeting with delegates from the University of Hertfordshire Law School in Abuja.

He emphasised that the initiative would involve collaboration between the private and public sectors to develop a domestically engineered blockchain solution.

Abdullahi emphasized that the proposed blockchain would enhance national security and ensure the safety of citizens’ data. He underscored the significance of developing an indigenous blockchain, noting that it would enable Nigeria to exert full control over its data and strategic positions.

The concept of the ‘Nigerium project’, a locally developed blockchain tailored for Nigeria, originated from a presentation by a delegation from the University of Hertfordshire Law School, led by Chanu Kuppuswamy.

Kuppuswamy advocated that creating a domestic blockchain for Nigeria would allow for customisation of the technology to meet specific national needs and ensure alignment with existing laws and regulations.

Kuppuswamy cautioned against the potential hazards of depending on foreign-built blockchains, highlighting a recent instance where Ethereum implemented significant changes to its blockchain without consulting its user base.

She pointed out that if Nigeria opts for a foreign blockchain solution, the country would face challenges in exerting influence over critical decisions concerning the blockchain’s operations.

The blockchain initiative aligns with Nigeria’s national blockchain policy, introduced last year, which seeks to establish a robust digital economy supporting secure data sharing and value exchange.

Despite previous regulatory caution from Nigeria’s central bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding digital assets, the country’s cryptocurrency industry is valued at approximately $400 million.

Director General, SEC, Emomotimi Agama foresees further growth in crypto trade volumes despite recent regulatory actions.

Chanu Kuppuswamy, a blockchain expert at the University of Hertfordshire Law, emphasised the significance of Nigerium in achieving data sovereignty and building trust in digital transactions within Nigeria.

The blockchain initiative is also seen as a strategic move to reduce dependency on foreign technologies and adapt blockchain solutions to local regulatory frameworks.

“Nigerium represents a significant step towards harnessing blockchain technology according to Nigeria’s specific needs and legal framework,” Kuppuswamy stated.

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