The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has revealed that it is working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for a better understanding and regulation of cryptocurrencies in the country.
This is coming after CBN had in February 2021, barred deposit money banks and other financial institutions from doing business with cryptos and other digital assets.
This disclosure was made by the Director-General of SEC, Lamido Yuguda, at the 2021 post-Capital Market Committee (CMC) virtual news conference.
Yuguda said that the commission was in discussion with the CBN for better understanding and regulation of the crypto-assets market, adding that the capital market regulator had suspended the implementation of crypto assets guidelines due to lack of access to Nigerian bank accounts.
Yuguda in his statement said, “We are in discussion with CBN for both understanding and better regulating of this market. We will be able to come back to you later to inform you of the outcome of these engagements.
But because of the lack of access to commercial bank accounts, we had to suspend our own guidelines of September 2020. The implementation of that circular is suspended until these operators are able to have access to Nigerian bank accounts.
Remember that nobody operates in the Nigerian capital market if that person does not have access to a Nigerian bank account,” he said.
Yuguda, however, pointed out that SEC had always provided support to Fintechs and had invested so much in developing a framework to support their operations.
He said, “Let me say that the SEC remains very supportive of fintechs. We have invested so much in developing a framework for supporting fintechs in the various areas and fintechs are acting in areas of crowdfunding, investment advice and cryptocurrencies and the likes.”
He acknowledged the fact that the fintech market had been disrupted by the CBN’s ban on access to Nigerian bank accounts by the crypto exchange.
He said, “In all other areas, nothing has changed, but in the area of crypto assets, you know that with the recent prohibition by the CBN on access to Nigerian bank accounts by crypto exchanges, that market has been disrupted.
And the truth of the matter is that while the SEC had issued guidelines in September 2020 aimed at regulating this market, for now for all intents and purposes, because these exchanges do not have access to commercial bank accounts in Nigeria, the market, for now, does not exist.’’
The apex bank had about two months ago, warned the Deposit Money Banks, Non-Financial Institutions and other Financial Institutions against doing business in crypto and other digital assets.
The CBN directed financial institutions to immediately close the accounts of persons or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges, warning of severe regulatory sanctions in the event of any breach of the directive.
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