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Experts want SEC, CBN clear directive on cryptocurrency in Nigeria

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Financial experts have stressed the need for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to work together and chart a clear, articulated and progressive course on cryptocurrencies in Nigeria and avoid regulatory overlap.

The experts, who expressed concern at the slow technology penetration in Nigeria, said the nation could not afford to take the backseat in these initiatives given its strategic importance in Africa.

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According to them, the regulatory authorities should collaborate and develop a comprehensive regulation that would advance cryptocurrencies technology in Nigeria, and integrate it into its financial ecosystem.

Cryptocurrencies are digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency, and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.

For instance, a professor in the Department of Business Law, College of Law, Igbinedion University, Okada, Nat Ofo, said cryptocurrencies and its ancillary blockchain technology had been fingered to revolutionise a lot of industries going forward.
Ofo said: “We are in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is powered by technology. cryptocurrencies and its ancillary Blockchain technology have cited to revolutionise a lot of industries going forward. What is quite evident globally at the moment is that Cryptocurrencies have come to stay.

“It is only a matter of time before they replace fiat currencies. Therefore, Nigeria, given its strategic importance in Africa, cannot afford to take the back seat in these initiatives. A lot of Nigerians are transacting on cryptocurrencies these days.

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“In fact, there are Nigerian businesses, which are centred on cryptocurrencies-related matters. At the moment many forward-looking nations are already considering developing their central bank digital currencies (CBDC), which would be clothed with legal tender status.”

He applauded the SEC for proposing a legal framework that will regulate crypto-token or crypto-coin investments, urging them to intensify efforts towards accelerating the penetration of the technology in Nigeria, especially in the areas of regulation.

“Cryptocurrencies are now receiving official attention from the government. Just recently, the SEC issued a framework for cryptocurrencies in Nigeria and recognised them as securities generally.

“This is a commendable initial move by the government. The next thing now is to develop and issue a comprehensive regulation in respect of Cryptocurrencies in Nigeria,” he said.

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Former Secretary General, Independence Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Adebayo Adeleke, said: “As long as investors have confidence or assurance, provided by the regulators, people will begin to embrace it as an alternative investment.

“If our own regulators like the SEC put a framework in place, and be willing to assuage investors’ anxiety and concern over the safety of their investment, people will begin to invest in the technology.

“If SEC should provide a sort of guarantee that if anything goes wrong with the cryptocurrencies, they will be able to address those concerns, then investors are willing to invest,” he said. 

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