The legislative body of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) last week urged its member states about the importance of Cryptocurrencies when adopted with acceptable regulatory laws and advised that the member states take measures to develop and implement proper usage of Cryptocurrencies.
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ECOWAS is an independent regional assembly comprising 15 West African countries. It has a major influence on economic and political activities in the West African region with its capital in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria. It is a community for the West African States.
The meeting involved experts from the crypto ecosystem to advise the body on the benefits of cryptocurrencies, the body’s legislative arm developed a report which displayed the importance of adopting cryptocurrencies for economic development, and a poverty eradication strategy.
Additionally, the committee also underlined challenges that are associated with cryptocurrencies, conditions that make crypto unfavorable for immediate use, until proper regulation is put in place.
The report also contains the “side-effects” of cryptocurrencies stating that the recent decrease in the price of cryptocurrencies and the depreciation of the general market capitalization was evidence that crypto as an investment is not stable.
Other fears raised include that people and sub-regions could decide not to associate with crypto and reject cryptocurrencies as payment options if the governments of these states were to adopt it since they are not backed by law, Insecure liquidity, The irreversible nature of some transactions, The lack of a central regulatory authority and Anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering concerns.
In regards to regulation, nonetheless, ECOWAS charged the member states saying:
“Concerning the regulation of cryptocurrencies, Mr. Apraku recommended that central banks, ECOWAS Member States, national commissions in charge of stock exchange transactions, and the private sector champion the development of appropriate regulations and codes of conduct for the operation of cryptocurrency in the ECOWAS region.”
According to Kofi Apraku, The Commissioner, ECOWAS “Once acceptable regulatory measures are developed and enforced, several benefits would accrue to the region from the use of crypt ofurrency as a financial payment method”
The benefits mention by the ECOWAS commissioner Includes a fast-tracking regional payment system, The establishment of the ECOWAS Central Bank, boosting remittance to the ECOWAS Member States, increasing gross capital inflows to the region, Improving intra-regional and international trade.
Citizens of the West African states are the most enthusiastic about crypto, with Nigeria leading the world in crypto and blockchain technology adoption. Communities in the region are capitalizing on crypto to evade poverty, unemployment, and for others an opportunity to gain financial freedom.