SEC Gives Reasons for Decision to Regulate Crypto Assets and Others

Securities and Exchange Commission - SEC

In a statement on Thursday, the Security and Exchange Commission, the apex regulator of the nation’s capital market said it decided to provide regulatory certainty within the digital asset space last year due to the growing volume of reported flows.

SEC, had in September last year described digital assets, including crypto assets, as securities, saying it would regulate them.

Last Friday, the Central Bank of Nigeria ordered banks and other financial institutions in the country to close all cryptocurrency accounts.

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SEC said that it had received several comments and inquiries from the public on a perceived policy conflict between its September 11, 2020 statement on digital assets and classification and treatment and the CBN circular of February 5, 2021. The commission therefore said it sees no such contradictions or inconsistencies.

In recognition of the fact that digital assets may have the full characteristics of investments as defined in the Investments and Securities Act 2007, the SEC statement asserts that trading in such assets falls under SEC’s regulatory purview, except proven otherwise.

It said, the primary objective of the statement was not to hinder or stifle innovation, but to establish standards of ethical practices that ultimately make for a fair and efficient securities market.

The SEC made its statement at the time to provide regulatory certainty within the digital asset space, due to the growing volume of reported flows. It added, “Subsequently, in its capacity as the regulator of the banking system, the CBN identified certain risks, which if allowed to persist, will threaten investor protection, a key mandate of the SEC, as well as financial system stability, a key mandate of the CBN.

“In light of these facts, we have engaged with the CBN and agreed to work together to further analyse, and better understand the identified risks to ensure that appropriate and adequate mitigants are put in place, should such securities be allowed in the future.”

The SEC said the planned implementation of the its Regulatory Incubation Guidelines for fintech firms intending to introduce innovative models for offering capital market products and services would continue.

“The SEC will continue to monitor developments in the digital asset space and further engage all critical stakeholders with a view to creating a regulatory structure that enhances economic development while promoting a safe, innovative and transparent capital market,” it added.