Nigeria has a population of more than 200 million people and is widely regarded as one of the largest cryptocurrency markets in the world. Some in the cryptocurrency world believe that Nigeria is one of the few countries that can better accept digital currencies.
However, despite the optimism, Nigeria’s crypto industry is still plagued by persistent obstacles that complicate mass adoption. Some of the problems faced include the uncertain regulatory environment and the proliferation of Bitcoin-related scams, which often damage the image of cryptocurrencies.
However, according to Tony Emeka, founder and CEO of Cryptotvplus, a Nigerian cryptocurrency media organization, some of these challenges can be overcome through education.
In a Q&A session with Bitcoin.com News, Emeka discussed his latest education project Earnathon and why he thinks it will make a difference. The CEO also expressed his views on the deadlock between the Central Bank of Nigeria and the cryptocurrency industry.
To kick off the curtain, Terence Zimwara (TZ) of Bitcoin.com News asked Emeka to share his background and experience. These experiences and motivations prompted him to focus on crypto education?
Tony Emeka (TE): Taking into account market data, the Nigerian encryption industry is considered to be one of the largest in the world. The reason for the growth is the poor state of the country and Nigerians’ strong enthusiasm for getting out of trouble and for their own benefit. However, this respectable growth is only possible because of education. However, it is not easy to treat negative sentiments towards cryptocurrencies as fraudulent means.
Nevertheless, with the help of many individuals and business organizations including Cryptotvplus, the industry has made considerable progress. For example, Cryptotvplus through its educational platform Campus Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Awareness Tour (BCAT) has been helping to raise awareness of blockchain and cryptocurrency in Nigeria since 2019. For one thing, Cryptotvplus helped organize one of the largest gatherings focused on cryptocurrency in West Africa. The educational platform has also helped to expose thousands of individuals (mostly students) to cryptocurrency.
After seeing the success of the BCAT activities of various universities in Nigeria, the team found that more needs to be done. In order to achieve mass adoption, it is necessary to automate the process and allow thousands of people to learn encryption technology at once. We have also observed how incentivizing participants through airdrops can bring many people into cryptocurrency. These experiences and ideas are the foundation of Earnathon.
Bring encryption education to millions of people around the world.
TZ: From an educational point of view, what is your impression of what is currently happening in the cryptocurrency sector in Nigeria?
TE: Education plays a unique role in shaping any (emerging) industry. Globally, the growth of cryptocurrency education and people’s awareness continue to increase. Trackable search trends and user adoption rates reflect this. However, there is more work to be done. In order to achieve mass adoption, education needs to go deep into the grassroots. This is one thing, now it has been lost, and now, this is one of the things we hope to do through Earnathon.
TZ: I know that crypto scams are a problem in Nigeria. Do you also deal with this issue specifically?
TE: Although it is not possible to completely eliminate fraud, it can be reduced to a very low number. In Nigeria and around the world, encryption-related scams have risen and continue to rise, but high-quality encryption education is the key and the only powerful weapon to fight fraudsters. Regulators can issue warnings, and law enforcement agencies will arrest bad actors. However, because most of these organizations are passive, education provides a fascinating solution.
When people become proactive due to good encryption knowledge, they can easily defeat bad actors. Therefore, education is the key.
TZ: Now, as a person trying to help people increase their awareness of cryptocurrency and blockchain, how do you evaluate the level of ignorance in the government and CBN?
TE: CBN stated in its circular issued on February 7, 2021 that financial institutions can no longer facilitate transactions related to cryptocurrencies. Unexpectedly, a few months after the same regulator classified cryptocurrencies as securities, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) supported the CBN position. This shows that CBN and the government still lack a good understanding of cryptocurrencies and currencies.
TZ: So, do you think CBN fully understands (cryptocurrency), or did it rush to execute its instructions in February?
TE: The February 7 circular is a bit scary. This is reactive. The highest bank should be proactive. The government has previously expressed its desire to explore blockchain technology.
This is only possible by creating a good environment for the development of existing enterprises. But the circular is a setback for many companies, so it seems to be rushed.
TZ: How to eliminate the deadlock between the cryptocurrency industry and CBN?
TE: CBN’s position on cryptocurrency seems to be the wrong foundation. However, only by cooperating with regulators can we make progress and show regulators the possibility and importance of cryptocurrency and blockchain. No organization wants an intruder. Educating CBN will enable it to view cryptocurrency as a tool for economic growth.
Do you agree with Emeka’s argument that education is a key step to ensure wider acceptance of cryptocurrencies? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
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