Nigeria’s SEC sets up division focused on digital currency investments

The Nigerian securities regulator has set up a new division that will focus on digital currency investments. The findings of the new division will guide the watchdog on the need for regulations in the budding industry.

Lamido Yuguda, the director general of Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed the move in a virtual interview recently. 

“We are looking at this market closely to see how we can bring out regulations that will help investors protect their investment in blockchain,” Lamido stated, as per a report by Reuters.

The SEC has been making efforts to establish its jurisdiction over digital currencies in Nigeria, with the industry growing at a rapid pace in recent years. Nigeria leads the African continent along with Kenya when it comes to digital currency adoption. However, despite the growth, both countries still lack any definitive policies catering to the industry. 

While the Central Bank of Nigeria has established its presence in the sector by banning banks from processing digital currency-related transactions, the SEC has long viewed them as securities and claimed to be in charge of the industry.

With the new division, the SEC hopes to consolidate its mandate over the industry. Lamido didn’t, however, provide a specific timeframe for when he expects the new division to launch. However, he told reporters that the agency would step in with regulations once digital currencies are re-accepted into the Nigerian banking system.

And despite having seemingly opposing views about digital currencies, Lamido claimed that the SEC and the central bank have been engaging in talks over the future of the industry. These talks, he said, are part of what led to the launch of the e-naira.

Nigeria’s SEC isn’t the first to establish an entirely new division that focuses solely on digital currencies. As CoinGeek reported a week ago, South Korea’s Financial Services Commission established a new independent bureau that will monitor the digital currency industry. However, unlike Nigeria’s which will focus on investments, South Korea’s new bureau is mostly focused on preventing money laundering through digital currencies.

Watch: CoinGeek Zurich panel, Blockchain & the Future of Africa

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