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Regulation of crypto, digital assets now under full control, says SEC DG

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Capital Market, Chief Osita Izunaso, stressed the need for effective cryptocurrency regulation in Nigeria.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)  says it has complete oversight and regulatory control over cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.

The Director-General of SEC, Dr. Emomotimi Agama, stated this at the inaugural annual conference of the Association of Capital Market Academics of Nigeria (ACMAN) in Abuja on Thursday, jointly hosted by ACMAN and SEC.

Agama described crypto assets as digital or virtual assets utilized by cryptography for security.

According to Agama, over 15,000 cryptocurrencies have been created, with Bitcoin being the most well-known.

He noted that even in the United States, the regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies is still evolving and not yet solidified.

Agama revealed that Nigeria’s cryptocurrency transaction volume surged to $56.7 billion between July 2022 and June 2023, prompting the SEC’s regulatory efforts.

According to a survey he cited, 33.4% of Nigerians actively use or own cryptocurrencies.

Agama said: ”The secrecy of crypto usage is what is driving its adoption by the youth. Some people don’t have bank accounts, but they have crypto wallets.

”Crypto is like air; can you cage it?” No. What you can do is build a risk management around it.”

He emphasized the commission’s commitment to investor education, aiming to empower individuals with knowledge about the potential risks and rewards of digital assets, enabling them to make informed and wise investment choices.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Capital Market, Chief Osita Izunaso, stressed the need for effective cryptocurrency regulation in Nigeria.

Izunaso highlighted the potential benefits of a well-regulated market, which would enable the country to harness the opportunities and gains of the crypto sector.

He warned that the lack of effective regulation in the cryptocurrency market has left many investors vulnerable to fraudulent activities.

Izunaso emphasized the need for collaboration among all stakeholders to create a secure and thriving crypto ecosystem that maximizes opportunities and minimizes risks.

The Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Ms. Patience Oniha, advocated for increased awareness and financial literacy initiatives to empower investors with the knowledge necessary to make informed investment decisions and navigate the complex financial landscape effectively.

On his part, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, Mr. Bello Hassan, acknowledged the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies among young people, stating that they are here to stay.

He urged the SEC to provide investors with regular, unbiased updates on the risks associated with cryptocurrency trading, ensuring they are well-informed and able to make wise investment decisions.

The President of the Association of Capital Market Academics of Nigeria (ACMAN), Prof. Uche Uwaleke explained that the conference aims to explore the potential expansion of financial sector regulations to include cryptocurrency assets, seeking to facilitate a comprehensive discussion on how to effectively integrate crypto assets into the existing regulatory framework.

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