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RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded lower on Thursday, falling by 3.38 percent to $36,519 at 1:34 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $2,435, down by 2.45 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

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The number of global crypto owners is expected to exceed 1 billion by the end of the year, according to a report by Crypto.com.

Crypto.com released its “Crypto Market Sizing” report last week which shows an analysis of cryptocurrency adoption worldwide.

The global crypto population increased by 178 percent in 2021, rising from 106 million in January to 295 million by December.

“Nations can no longer afford to ignore the growing push to crypto by the public. We may in many cases expect a friendlier stance towards the crypto industry,” the company said.

The report shows that the adoption of cryptocurrency in the first half of 2021 was impressive, adding that the main driver of growth was bitcoin.

“We expect developed nations to devise clear legal and taxation frameworks for crypto assets,” Crypto.com said.

More countries facing economies with high inflation and devaluation may adopt cryptocurrency as legal tender, similar to El Salvador.

Despite the IMF’s bitcoin stance, several people have predicted that more countries will make the cryptocurrency legal tender this year, including Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele.

Financial giant Fidelity recently said it expects other sovereign nation-states to acquire bitcoin this year as a form of insurance.

Regulating crypto industry

The leader of the Nigerian blockchain association, Senator Ihenyen, has implored the country’s lawmakers currently pushing for the securities law to be revamped to consider crafting laws that regulate the crypto industry.

As Nigerian lawmakers debate a bill that proposes a ten-year jail term for operators of Ponzi schemes, a leader of a Nigerian blockchain lobby group, Senator Ihenyen, has urged the country’s lawmakers to consider crafting a law to govern the cryptocurrency industry.

He argued that the unregulated crypto space is not in anyone’s interest, Bitcoin.com reported.

Ihenyen, who heads the Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria, known as SIBAN, concedes that while the proposed bill does not expressly mention or refer to digital currencies, crypto Ponzi schemes are included in what the lawmakers call prohibited schemes.

The remarks by the leader of SIBAN follow reports that Nigerian lawmakers had passed a bill to repeal and re-enact the country’s Capital Markets, Investment and Securities Act for a second reading.

“The bill prohibits Ponzi/Pyramid Schemes as well as other illegal investment schemes and prescribes a jail term of not less than 10 years for promoters of such schemes, ” Ibrahim Babangida, one of the lawmakers who led the campaign to change the law, said.

In addition to seeking a custodial sentence, lawmakers also want the new law to grant the Nigeria Securities and Exchange Commission the power to shut down Ponzi schemes.

The lawmakers also insist the current law is not compatible with present trends in capital markets regulation, hence the need to revamp the act.