Secrecy driving adoption of cryptocurrencies by Nigerian youths – SEC  

The Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that many Nigerian youths are embracing cryptocurrencies because of the secretive nature of the transactions.  

The Director-General of the Commission, Dr Emomotimi Agama, stated this at the first Annual Conference of the Association of Capital Market Academics of Nigeria (ACMAN) on Thursday in Abuja. 

While several stakeholders in the crypto industry in Nigeria have been calling for the regulation of the crypto space, the SEC DG affirmed that the regulation of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets is under its full control. He, however, noted that crypto regulation has not yet matured anywhere in the world. 

According to him, there are over 15,000 cryptocurrencies created with Bitcoin as the most popular. He said the regulatory landscape for cryptocurrency is not yet firm even in the United States. 

Crypto adoption in Nigeria 

Speaking on the rising adoption of crypto in Nigeria, Agama said: 

“Secrecy of crypto usage is what is driving its adoption by the youth. Some people don’t have bank accounts but they have a crypto wallet. Crypto is like air, can you cage it? No. What you can do is to build a risk management around it.” 

To buttress the point that many Nigerians are into crypto, the SEC DG quoted a survey which said that 33.4% of Nigerians were using or owned cryptocurrencies.

Agama said the commission would continue to educate investors on the risks associated with digital assets to be able to make wise investment decisions. 

Call for regulation 

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Capital Market, Chief Osita Izunaso, told the SEC that the country required effective crypto regulation to benefit from the gains of the market. 

Izunaso said the absence of effective regulation on cryptocurrencies had exposed so many investors to fraud. He called for synergy from all stakeholders to harness opportunities in the crypto space. 

Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Mr. Bello Hassan,  said that cryptocurrencies had come to stay as younger people are patronising the market. Hassan also called on the SEC to constantly update investors with unbiased information on the associated risks of trading in the crypto market. 

What you should know 

Last week, the SEC launched a new program aimed at speeding up the registration process of Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASP). 

  • According to the regulatory body, the new program will serve as an amendment to existing rules and is targeted at improving the current regulatory framework to fit the existing complexities of the crypto industry in the country. 
  • In March, the Nigerian SEC announced steep changes to its Rules on Digital Assets Issuance, Offering Platforms, Exchange, and Custody.  
  • The most significant aspect of the change was the increase in registration fees of VASPs from 30 million naira ($20,161) to 150 million ($100,806) which raised much criticism and speculation because of the potential to reduce business participation. 


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