Binance, the world’s largest exchange is in talks with the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) over plans to create a special economic zone focused on crypto and blockchain-related businesses.
Binance To Help Create Nigeria’s Virtual Free Zone
NEPZA held preliminary discussions with Binance and technology infrastructure firm Talent City in a bid to establish the country’s “Virtual Free Zone”, according to a Saturday press release.
The early-stage plans were discussed during the Friday meeting between NEPZA’s Managing Director, Adesoji Adesugba, Binance’s Executive Director, Business Development & Strategic Partnerships, Nadeem Ladki, and Talent City CEO Luqman Edu.
According to Adesugba, the proposed digital hub will be the first-ever in West Africa. It will be similar to Dubai’s virtual free zone, which aims to provide crypto-friendly regulations and tax incentives for crypto-focused businesses. “Our goal is to engender a flourishing virtual free zone to take advantage of a near trillion dollar virtual economy in blockchains and digital economy,” Adesugba said in the official statement.
Last December, Binance agreed to help Dubai set up an industry hub for virtual assets to facilitate long-term economic growth through digital innovation.
Nigeria Emerging As A True Crypto Nation
Despite the crypto downturn in recent months, Nigeria has one of the highest crypto adoption rates in the world. In fact, a survey conducted by CoinGecko found that Nigeria is the most crypto-curious country in the world, with its residents most inclined to buy the dip.
Adesugba further added that the virtual free zone would “widen economic opportunities” for citizens of the western African nation.
“We seek to break new grounds to widen economic opportunities for our citizens in line with the mandate of the Authority, the directive of the Honourable Minister, and the economic development agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
The development comes after Nigeria in October 2021 became the second country in the world to launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC), following the Bahamas a year earlier. The eNaira has been used to conduct transactions worth over 4 billion naira (nearly US$9.5 million) since it was introduced. Prior to eNaira’s rollout, the central bank of Nigeria had tried to ban the use of cryptocurrencies by the public, instructing banks to freeze accounts of suspected crypto traders.
In May this year, Nigeria’s Security and Exchange Commission asserted that all crypto assets are securities in a new rulebook. The rules generally signify that Nigeria is looking to give clarity to the thriving crypto market in a nation of tech-savvy people.