- Nigeria’s Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) had held preliminary talks with Binance to discuss the proposed digital city, known as the “Virtual Free Zone.”
- Nigeria has over 22 million crypto owners.
Nigerian authorities and the world’s leading crypto exchange, Binance, are currently engaged in discussions to create a virtual free zone focusing on blockchain and the digital economy.
Nigeria’s Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has stated that it had held preliminary talks with Binance and technology infrastructure company Talent City to discuss the proposed digital city, referred to as a “Virtual Free Zone.”
NEPZA managing director(MD) Adesoji Adesugba said the proposed zone would be a first of its kind in West Africa and act similar to Dubai’s virtual zones, which focus on incentives to promote crypto businesses and provide crypto-friendly laws.
The early-stage plans for the proposed virtual asset zone were discussed on Friday during a meeting between Adesugba, Binance executive director Nadeem Ladki, Talent City Chief Executive Officer Luqman Edu, and NEPZA director Sikiru Lawal in Dubai.
Commenting on the development, Adesoji stated, “Our goal is to engender a flourishing virtual free zones to take advantage of a near trillion dollar virtual economy in blockchains and digital economy”.
He further added that Nigeria seeks to break new grounds to widen economic opportunities for its citizens in line with the mandate of the Authority, the directive of the Honorable Minister, as well as the economic development agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigeria has one of the highest rates of crypto adoption around the world, with over 22 million crypto owners.
Despite this huge number, Nigeria has not always been a crypto-friendly nation, with the central bank of Nigeria enacting a blanket ban in 2021, restricting banks from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions of any kind.
The NEPZA’s move in collaboration with Binance is expected to open Nigeria to new avenues of digital asset economy.
Earlier this year, Nigeria’s capital markets regulatory body issued new laws governing the exchange, issuance, and custody of digital assets in the country.
Nigeria’s SEC has also issued licenses for virtual asset service providers (VASPs) to operate in the country.
One testament to Nigeria‘s growing digital asset economy is the increasing number of Nigeria’s central bank digital currency- the eNaira transactions in recent days.
eNaira has been used to carry out transactions worth around 4 billion naira ($9.3 million) since it was introduced in October last year.