Nigeria Leads Africa in Regulating Digital Asset Space — Securities Regulator


Nigeria has taken the lead in regulating digital assets in Africa, and is one of the countries looking keenly into governing the digital asset space, an executive director with the country’s securities regulator has said. The director also made clarifications on the different regulatory roles played by the central bank and the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Protecting Investors

According to the executive director of Nigeria’s securities regulator, Dayo Obisan, his country is “leading in Africa in terms of making the rules and regulating into the digital asset space.” Globally, Nigeria is one of the countries keenly looking into that space, Obisan claimed.

In comments published by Nairametrics, Obisan said the objective of his organization, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria (SEC), is to create an operating environment that allows players in the digital asset space to prosper but one that also protects investors.

The remarks by Obisan concerning the SEC’s regulation of digital assets come just over two months after his organization announced a new set of rules to govern the use of cryptocurrencies as well as the activities of virtual asset service providers (VASPs). As reported by Bitcoin.com News, the new rules govern the issuance of digital assets as securities. The regulations also include rules on the registration requirements for digital asset offering platforms (DAOPs), VASPs, and digital asset exchanges.

The SEC director’s comments come at a time when questions over which body, between the SEC and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), should regulate cryptocurrencies continue to linger. Some players in the Nigerian digital asset space have said the seemingly conflicting statements issued by the two regulators suggest they do not see eye to eye when it comes to the regulation of digital assets.

Digital Assets as an Investment Tool

However, when speaking during a webinar organized by Nairametrics, Obisan attempted to address the confusion by clarifying the respective role of each regulator. He said:

The regulatory space is evolving. Even after we came up with our classification of digital assets. You know there is this fungibility in the use of the language, crypto assets and cryptocurrency, so it depends on the usage. When anything is a fiat – fiat is money – we use it as a means of exchange, that is an exclusive precedence from the Central Bank of Nigeria. But when it is used as an investment tool, then it falls squarely on our lap.

After the SEC unveiled the latest set of rules governing the digital asset space, Bitcoin.com News sought CBN governor Godwin Emefiele’s reaction to the announcement. However, at the time of writing, Emefiele has not responded to our inquiry.

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