Finance

Nigerian SEC seeks to raise crypto exchange registration fee

Nigeria’s Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed an amendment to the rules guiding platforms that offer crypto services. The Commission suggested a hike in the registration fee for crypto exchanges from $18,620 (30 million naira) to $93,000 (150 million naira).

In the amendment, the SEC said the proposed changes were made to provide clarity and incorporate suggestions from industry stakeholders, “particularly with regard to the recent engagements with the CBN.” The Nigerian SEC first issued rules and guidelines for all crypto and digital asset service providers in May 2022, but on Friday, March 15, 2024, it suggested an amendment to the rules.

Under the updated guidelines, digital asset exchanges (DAX), digital asset offering platforms (DAOP), and digital asset custodians (DAC) will be required to pay a filing/application fee of $186 (300,000 naira), up from the previous $62 (100,000 naira) fee.

Screenshot of the Nigerian SEC’s proposed amendment to rules guiding crypto exchanges.    Source: SEC Nigeria

The processing fee has also surged from $186 (300,000 naira) to $620 (1 million naira), marking a substantial increase. Similarly, the registration fee has spiked by 400%, jumping from $18,620 (30 million naira) to $93,102 (150 million naira).

Another proposed change involves renaming the rules and guidelines from “New Rules on Issuance, Offering Platforms and Custody of Digital Assets” to “Rules on Digital Assets Issuance, Offering Platforms, Exchange, and Custody.”

The SEC stated that these amendments aim to enhance clarity and incorporate input from industry stakeholders. Additionally, they reflect insights gained from recent discussions with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Related: Nigerian crypto community split over govt’s bid for Binance user data

Although the SEC attributes the proposed changes to input from industry stakeholders, some have criticized the $310,343 (500 million naira) paid-up capital requirement. They argue that this high fee would primarily favor foreign firms and disadvantage local entities.

Nigeria has emerged as one of the fastest-growing crypto economies in the world in the past few years. It is also the second-biggest economy in the world in terms of crypto adoption in 2023. In August 2022, Nigeria was named the most crypto-obsessed country in the world by the number of Google searches for “cryptocurrency” or “buy crypto.”

According to the Financial Times, Nigeria abandoned its years-long currency peg and allowed the naira to trade freely in June 2023. The country subsequently faced record-high inflation. In January 2024, Nigeria’s consumer inflation rose for the 13th straight month to nearly 30%, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

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