Nigeria to Regulate Crypto-Currencies to Protect Investors

Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission said it will regulate trade in digital currencies to provide protection for investors and to ensure that transactions are transparent.

“The general objective of regulation is not to hinder technology or stifle innovation, but to create standards that encourage ethical practices,” the Abuja-based regulator said Monday in an emailed statement. The agency said it’s obliged to regulate “when the character of the investments qualifies as securities transactions.”

The authorities in the West African nation had in the past declined to recognize digital currencies as legal tender, with Central Bank of Nigeria saying in 2018 that crypto-currencies including Bitcoin, Ripples, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecoin and Onecoin, weren’t regarded as money.

SEC, as the regulator is known, said it views them as exchangeable securities. “Issuers or sponsors of virtual digital assets shall be guided by the commission’s regulation,” it said in the statement.

“Crypto transactions are already happening and the earlier it is regulated, the less havoc on the economy,” Ayodeji Ebo, managing director at Afrinvest securities in Lagos said by phone. “it’s another way to provide alternative assets to investors.”

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