Why Governments Must Stop Its War on Cryptocurrency


Governments, with an appetite for immense power and total authority over the citizens, find the decentralized system of crypto a bitter pill to swallow.

By Muhammad Adamu

Cryptocurrency limits the government’s authority over the flow of funds. But governments, with an appetite for immense power and total authority over the citizens, find the decentralized system of crypto a bitter pill to swallow. This explains why the system has faced persecution in recent times.

Though cryptocurrency has its flaws, the benefits transcend the danger the governments might claim to be protecting us from.

On February 5, the Central Bank of Nigeria ordered all financial institutions to stop facilitating crypto transactions and desist from transacting with entities engaging in the digital currency. The directives extended to banks and financial institutions to close accounts of defaulters. This no doubt has affected Nigerians using the currency to receive payment for their legitimate businesses.

Powered by blockchain technology, cryptocurrency is one of the finest advancements the world has ever seen.

But why do governments despise Crypto-currency so much? The truth: It limits their supremacy over the citizens as it fails to fulfill the governments’ aspiration of total control over the citizens’ funds.

Cryptocurrency, according to Lexico.com, is “a digital currency in which transactions are verified and records maintained by a decentralized system using cryptography, rather than by a centralized authority… [an] outlet for personal wealth that is beyond restriction and confiscation.”

With about 300 million users as of 2021, crypto is more ubiquitous than ever. Even, there’s still room for crypto to grow and spread worldwide. And according to a survey by Statista, Nigeria topped the list of countries with crypto users with 32% usage as of 2021, this is because many Nigerians keep benefitting from the system.

Among other things, crypto has been criticized to help the citizens undermine the government’s authority by circumventing government-imposed regulations and facilitating nefarious activities by helping criminals evade detection.

Though cryptocurrency has its flaws, the benefits transcend the danger the governments might claim to be protecting us from.

But the restrictions have had little or no effect in curbing insecurity, especially with the recent banditry and the endemic kidnapping for ransom. In fact, the increase in banditry in States like Sokoto, Zamfara, and Kaduna where reprisal attacks have always been a means of income to the insurgents is evident that the crypto restrictions have no effect in curbing insurgency.

In the crypto world only the user has access to his/her funds and no one, unless willingly let out, could hack through it. Powered by blockchain technology, it is one of the finest advancements the world has ever seen.

In the same vein, every single transaction through bitcoin is recorded and kept on a ledger — and that ledger is accessible to everyone. This in effect is contrary to the government’s claim about cryptocurrency not traceable.

Unlike fiat which is flawed with diversity and inaccuracy, people prefer cryptocurrency for its efficiency and low cost.

For instance, in 2015, an American Bitcoin marketer and creator of ‘Silk Road’ was sentenced to life imprisonment for facilitating the sale of $1 billion in illegal drugs after being successfully traced by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This is clear evidence that crypto transactions are traceable.

As of June 2021, El Salvador is the only country that recognizes Bitcoin as a legal tender. This has started to blossom for about 70% of unbanked Salvadorans who have found a way to access financial services. And as President Nayib Bukele posited, the adoption would make it easier for the citizens to get remittances from abroad.

Unlike fiat which is flawed with diversity and inaccuracy, people prefer cryptocurrency for its efficiency and low cost, most importantly, its potential universal recognition. And government’s endorsement, like that of El Salvador, would go a long way to allow the citizens to harness the economic opportunities in the decentralised currency.

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