Nigeria: Smart Contracts Definition and Legality

Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Chairman of FASMICRO Group, states that “In commercial contracts which need to be insured, most times, you need to put monetary figures on them. If you have a contract that is created on blockchain and quantified in Bitcoin, in Nigeria, for the supplies of items and your partner refuses to do its part, after you have paid, you have to go to court to seek help. I do think most Nigerian courts may note that the Nigerian law does not recognize Bitcoin to assess the true value of that contract. In short, your partner can even countersue that the contract is voidable. Technically, you will have two issues to deal with:

  • You have to prove to the court that blockchain contracts are legally enforceable in Nigeria. I know of a time when emails were not admissible in courts. And banks would not accept emailed instructions or mandates. The Law fixed that and we now take them for granted. Nothing has been done in the area of blockchain and the default is that such contracts are potentially voidable
  • The Bitcoin is not a legal tender in Nigeria. The implication is that the monetary value is not permissible in Nigerian court. You will need to convince the court to offer value to that contract which largely was written outside the law. This is different from US dollar based contract. Nigeria is part of United Nations, and we recognize all global currencies. That means if you have a contract in South African rand, our court will enforce it. But today, I have no idea if any Central Bank has adopted Bitcoin and made it its legal tender.

Always remember that you can do anything you want in business. But what matters is when there is problem. I tell people to always operate in areas where there is clear certainty of the law unless they want to speculate and that speculation must be clear and evident.”


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