By Bode Akinbode and Deborah Oladejo
The operations of Cryptocurrency have come to stay in the country, despite the recent ban imposed on the digital platform by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Digital technology experts, who spoke at the 2021 Annual Retreat of WESTERN POST online newspaper in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, at the weekend, noted that Cryptocurrency is fast becoming acceptable by many businesses and Nigerians.
The retreat, with the theme: “Understanding the Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency: The Role of the Media,” was sponsored by Wema Bank Plc.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Seun Oyeniyi, who is a digital technology expert, maintained that lack of information on the operation of Cryptocurrency may have been responsible for the CBN ban.
He regretted that policymakers did not bother to seek for information or clarification on the operation of the new system before taking the action.
According to him, the CBN’s decision may have been necessitated by the need to protect the value of the naira as well as curb fraudulent transactions.
Oyeniyi, who is the Editor-in-Chief, Techcabal, a technology-based publication, also noted that the availability of Cryptocurrency to sponsors of terrorism activities like Boko Haram and fraudsters such as Hushpuppy, could be another reason why the CBN took the step.
He, however, said stakeholders are currently engaging the CBN on cryptocurrency operation just as he advised regulators and the media to step up enlightenment campaign on the digital currency.
Oyeniyi said Nigeria is the second highest in cryptocurrency transactions in the world, after the United States because of the scarcity of dollars for remittances in the country.
He disclosed that Bitcoin and Ethereum remain the two main reliable cryptocurrency, adding that trading in the digital currency is currently employing thousands of otherwise jobless youths, with the potential to employ more.
Also speaking at the event, a content creator, crypto enthusiast and freelance tech journalist, Success Ihumeziem, stated that the world is advancing in the acceptance of cryptocurrency, stressing that Nigerian youths are competitive across the globe.
Ihumeziem advised the CBN to develop its digital currency in a move to get the youth gainfully employed.
A senior staff of Wema Bank, Mrs. Tawa Wale- Lasisi, while speaking, said the bank is operating a fully digital banking with ALAT APP.
She said that the Mobile App was recognized with an award by KPMG as one of the leading digital payments in 2020, maintaining that the App was designed to suit customers’ lifestyles.
She said: “The digital banking platform has not only provided the latest banking technology, it fits perfectly into the lifestyle of Nigerians; making life easier for everyone.
“ALAT can do any banking operations that include savings, access to loan, among others. Our database has increased over the time with ALAT and our market share in 2020 increased significantly.”
She added that ALAT is a perfect banking APP for old and new customers of Wema Bank.
ALAT, since it was created in 2017, has championed digital banking platform, as the best digital banking channel in Nigeria, she said.
Lasisi added that having redefined the banking space with ALAT, Wema Bank boasts of a capacity to onboard customers digitally end-to-end without the need to visit branches or agents.
“The bank continues to deliver innovative products to enrich payment and transfer offerings by creating a perfect blend of speed and functionality,” she added.
Also speaking at the retreat, Mr. Bolaji Tunji, the pioneer Managing Director, New Telegraph, and Media Adviser to late Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, said journalists should always keep their integrity while performing their duties.
Tunji added that with integrity, the sky is the limit for any journalist, even as he alluded to his personal experiences to buttress his submission.
“As a journalist, you must have a deliberate desire to make a difference, follow up stories, always quote your subject, ensure interviews are on tape, ensure fairness and balance reportage among others,” he added.
Earlier, Managing Editor of WESTERN POST, Mr. Akinwunmi Akinremi, commended management and staff for the effort put in so far at keeping the onllne news publication afloat.
He expressed his appreciation to Wema Bank Plc for partnering WESTERN POST, noting that the symbiotic relationship between the duo has been of immense benefit to both organisations.
He, however, charged correspondents as well as the editor to put in more efforts in order to make the online platform a must-read for the teeming populace.
Others present at the workshop were the Editor, ThisDay Newspaper, Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi; Mr. Tunde Rahman, founding Managing Editor of WESTERN POST and Media Adviser to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Pioneer News Editor, National Mirror Newspaper, Mr. Lekan Saani, and Alhaji Kehinde Olaosebikan, former Chief Press Secretary to late former Governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Lam Adesina