Crypto in Nigeria Gets a Second Look as SEC Softens Stance

The commission’s director general emphasized the potential utilization of digital assets to reform traditional financial services.

Chaos happening with Binance and Nigeria and its users.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • Nigeria’s SEC Director General has made positive remarks about crypto.
  • The Nigerian crypto industry is struggling with regulatory restrictions.  
  • Crypto may be getting reconsidered by financial regulatory authorities.

The past few months have been marked by hurdles for the local Nigerian crypto industry, characterized by a lengthy regulatory tussle aimed at limiting the influence of the asset class. Following an extensive saga involving the government and crypto exchanges, the government took its hard stance a step further, placing restrictions on crypto services within the region.

However, recent official comments by the director general of the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission, Emomotimi Agama, may hint at a potential shift in the broader unfriendly stance against the asset class.

SEC in Nigeria Going Pro-Crypto?

Speaking at the 2024 Annual Conference of the Association of Capital Market Academics of Nigeria (PACMAN), as reported by local media, Agama acknowledged the impact of crypto on the local financial sector. 

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“The country’s crypto market is estimated to be worth over $400 million, with a significant portion of the population involved in cryptocurrency trading and transactions,” he stated.

The SEC chief emphasized that with approximately 33.4% of Nigerians owning or using cryptocurrencies, the country could leverage this large number to enhance financial services, targeting its over 38 million unbanked adult population. 

While Agama acknowledged the dangers associated, he asserted that the digital asset class could be a more efficient method to streamline transfer and exchange services, touting its position as a better alternative to traditional measures.

“Cryptocurrencies can significantly reduce remittance costs, with Bitcoin transactions cutting fees by up to 50%. Nigeria is one of the largest recipients of remittances in Africa. Cryptocurrencies offer a more efficient and cost-effective way for Nigerians abroad to send money home,” he added.

Agama’s comments signify a shift from the government’s recent adoption of a general ‘no-crypto’ stance, which has resulted in hefty sanctions against service providers.

Nigerian Authorities v. Crypto Exchanges

At the forefront of the Nigerian government’s regulatory ire stands Binance, the world’s largest exchange by trading volume, whose past months have seen intense scrutiny and conflict with authorities.

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 Following severe accusations of manipulating the local Nigerian crypto industry in April 2024, Binance’s woes have only escalated, resulting in the restriction of its services, a litany of charges, and the over 100-day incarceration of one of its executives.

Other crypto exchanges, including OKX and KuCoin, also faced government scrutiny during the same period. They succumbed to regulatory pressure and discontinued the naira peer-to-peer (P2P)services on their individual platforms.

Neither of the exchanges’ restricted services has been reinstated; however, investors remain optimistic that the perceived easing stance will boost the local crypto industry.

On the Flipside

  • The detained Binance executive is still facing money laundering charges from the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
  • In April 2024, the Nigerian government restricted local investors within the region from accessing crypto websites.

Why This Matters

The SEC Director General’s remarks about crypto’s potential to enhance financial services within Nigeria signal a shifting sentiment toward the asset class, which could serve as a prelude to the end of the ongoing regulatory clash between the government and the industry.

Find out more about the detention of the Binance executive in Nigeria and advocacy for his release:
French Hill Urges Nigeria to Release Binance Exec “Immediately” 

Crypto founders are standing with former president Trump ahead of US elections, read more:
Trump’s Crypto Vision Gets $1M Boon from Kraken Co-Founder

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

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Grace Abidemi

Grace Abidemi, a cryptocurrency reporter at DailyCoin, covers industry developments and trends. She previously worked as a freelance writer. With a Bachelor's degree in German Language and certifications in marketing and storytelling, Grace creates engaging content. When not working, she's in Nigeria, mastering cooking and canvas painting, and enjoys learning about different cultures and languages.