Nigerian minister proposes crypto regulation instead of outright ban

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TL; DR Breakdown

  • Nigerian minister wants a new body to oversee crypto regulation
  • Agba says the government must consider regulating the space
  • Nigeria’s crypto ownership ranks highest in the world

Although lawmakers and market participants have seen digital assets’ potential, they want a crypto regulatory body that will oversee its activities. This goes against all that crypto stands for, but the activities of malicious actors have made things complicated. In a recent interview, Clem Agba, a minister in Nigeria, has positioned that he wants the country to regulate the activities of crypto traders and investments across the country.

Nigerian minister wants a new organization to regulate crypto space

This statement by the Nigerian minister is coming off the back of some recent statements issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria against holding and trading digital assets. In February, the CBN announced that trading digital assets were now deemed illegal, and anybody found guilty would be prosecuted. The premier bank did as much as instructing financial institutions to close down all accounts suspected to have carried out crypto transactions in the wake before the ban was put in place.

This recent statement by the Nigerian minister looks like a chide to the stance of the CBN as he has called that they try to regulate its activities instead of the outright ban that was announced. In his statement, Agba said that the premier bank should look for ways to establish a ground regulation instead of pushing crypto-related investments into the dark.

Nigeria’s crypto ownership ranks up worldwide

Agba also questioned the jurisdiction that the Central bank of Nigeria owns over the regulation of digital assets. In his interview at Bloomberg, the Nigerian minister said there is no regulatory body enshrined in the constitution to go after holders and traders of digital assets. He said that the government might look to create a new regulatory body that would check the activities going on in the crypto sector.

Before the decree of the premier bank came in February, there had been a tussle for control between the bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission over the body that would regulate and control traders and investments in the crypto market. In September 2020, the SEC released a document that mentioned viewing digital assets like Bitcoin as securities.

However, after the ban by the CBN, the SEC came forward to say it had suspended the released documents, giving the autonomous power back to the Central bank to control digital assets. The Nigerian minister also pointed out that the government must first recognize all the important parties before having a beneficial crypto regulatory approach. Although there is a ban on holding and trading digital assets, Nigerians have continued to trade digital assets, albeit through a black market source. In October, Nigeria cemented its place as the country with the highest number of crypto owners worldwide.

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