Nigeria: Crypto Experts Call for Regulations to Help the Industry Grow

Cryptocurrency experts in Nigeria have recently called for “urgent regulations” on cryptocurrencies so the sector can gain the public’s trust, and become beneficial for the country’s economy.

Luno, a South-African based crypto startup that operates in 40 other countries, has reportedly claimed that regulations will strengthen cryptocurrency-related operations in the country. At an event called Luno Meet in Lagos, country manager Owenzie Odia argued regulations will help cryptos’ popularity surge.

Speaking on the theme “Building Trust in Nigeria’s cryptocurrency Market,” Odia noted the sector has various risks, which include volatility and bitcoin’s fame as a currency used for illicit purposes on the dark web, but added his platform has been growing at a steady pace.

So much so that, per Odia, Luno already has over two million users across the globe, and has traded over $3 billion “in the last few years. She went on to list some of the advantages cryptocurrencies bring to the table – from being decentralized and safe, to being programmable and optionally transparent – to note the technology surrounding them is “evolving to meet human needs with speed and convenience.”

The expert noted Luno is targeting West, East, and Southern Africa so it can reach up to 20 countries over the next three years. Lucky Uwakwe, another cryptocurrency expert, added that cryptocurrencies are here to stay, and that when these are regulated “confidence and trust of the people will expand its reach.”

According to the results of a survey Luno carried out, 65% of respondents are familiar with crypto, while 25% own some. Out of those, 29% own both bitcoin and ethereum two of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the market.

As to why they bought cryptocurrencies, 51% claimed to view the asset class as an investment, while 19% revealed they used cryptos for remittance payments. 16% used them to shop online, while 11% sent family or friends money using them.

Per Olaleye Awe, another Nigerian crypto expert, the sector has a “great future” in the country, but won’t overtake fiat currencies. With regulations, he added, “confidence will be boosted and people will have trust in the scheme.”

As CryptoGlobe covered, the head of Nigeria’s opposition party has notably promised progressive cryptocurrency policies if elected president. The head of the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) expressed his concerns about the evolution of cryptocurrency from a regulator’s standpoint earlier this month.

UK's Regulator Warns Against Fraudulent Firm Cloning Financial Giant TP ICAP

The UK’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has uncovered another allegedly fraudulent crypto-related scheme.

On Friday (May 24, 2019), the FCA revealed that a company called ICAP Crypto had been impersonating an established firm known as ICAP Europe Limited. ICAP Crypto reportedly attempted to lure unsuspecting investors into a potential scam involving cryptocurrencies.

Using Company Details Belonging to Legitimate Financial Firms

While ICAP Crypto’s management does not claim its services are regulated by the FCA, the allegedly fraudulent firm has been using the company details that belong to legitimate UK-registered financial service providers.

The FCA has warned that the potential scammers operating ICAP Crypto may be using the company license information of established firms in order to lure investors into investing into a fraudulent crypto scheme.

According to the FCA, ICAP Crypto has provided contact information which may be “mixed” with details that belong to TP ICAP, one of the largest global interdealer brokers. Moreover, the FCA cautioned users that ICAP Crypto has launched a website that is not licensed by the FCA to offer financial services.

No Details Regarding Crypto Services

There’s also no association between the management and services provided by TP ICAP and ICAP Crypto, the UK’s financial regulator clarified. Furthermore, the FCA’s investigation has revealed that ICAP Crypto appears to be offering various crypto-related services including a platform to launch initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Although ICAP Crypto seems to be offering several different cryptocurrency-related products, the FCA found that the allegedly fraudulent firm has not provided any specific details regarding its services.

ICAP Crypto’s management states that its services include “a sophisticated blend of engineering with experience to empower thousands of marketers to access markets around the world through the use of digital currency entirely outside the traditional financial system.” However, it remains unclear what type of services the company actually offers.

FCA Planning To Draft Comprehensive Crypto Regulations

In January 2019, the UK’s financial regulator called for increased regulatory oversight over the leading European nation’s cryptocurrency market. In order to create regulations for digital assets, the FCA launched a consultation which requested feedback regarding how to regulate crypto transactions.

The FCA had specifically asked for feedback on how to regulate crypto exchanges, digital asset payment processing services, wallet providers, and broker dealers offering crypto derivatives.