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Nigerian SEC Launches New Crypto Regulations Amid Binance Scandal

Julia Smith
Last updated: | 2 min read
Nigeria SEC, Nigeria Crypto, Tigran Gambaryan

The Nigeria Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) unveiled a new crypto regulatory framework Friday focused on amending its approach to digital asset issuance, exchange and custody, and offering platforms. The news came just one day after U.S. lawmakers visited detained Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan.

Nigeria SEC Updates Crypto Regulations

According to an official statement from the Nigeria SEC, the updated regulatory framework will “expand the scope of regulation in line with the current realities.”

The announcement includes a “special window” for virtual asset service providers (VASPs) to apply for the African nation’s new “Accelerated Regulatory Incubation Program (ARIP),” a regulatory initiative for companies in the Fintech space.

According to the SEC’s website, ARIP is “designed for promoters of new business models and processes that are currently carrying out full or ancillary Capital Market activities without the required authorization through the use of technology.”

The SEC’s latest program hopes to “aid the evolution of effective regulation without compromising market integrity” while ensuring investor protection.

All prospective Nigerian VASPs interested in ARIP have 30 days to complete their respective applications. After that, the government says it will pursue enforcement actions against non-compliant firms.

Binance Executive Tigran Gambaryan Detained As Health Worsens

News of Nigeria’s shifting regulatory approach to digital assets comes just one day after two US lawmakers visited the country to see detained Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan amid reports of his declining health.

“We found him suffering from the conditions there, as he has malaria and double pneumonia, and he reports that he has lost significant weight,” Congressman French Hill (R-LA) and Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) said. “Even worse, he’s being denied access to adequate medical attention.”

The Binance executive notably collapsed during a late May court hearing in Abuja and was ordered to be admitted to a hospital. Despite the judge’s orders, Gambaryan’s family says he has yet to receive any adequate medical care.

“It took the prison authorities 11 days to take him for a brief check-up,” a June 14 statement from his family said. “The prison is not allowing the results of this check-up at the hospital to be released to his family, lawyers nor the US embassy as they have named a person from the prison as his next of kin.”

Since then, U.S. lawmakers have written a letter to the White House urging President Joe Biden to demand his release.

“Tigran must be immediately granted a humanitarian release, the remaining charges dropped, and he must return home to America where he belongs,” Hill said.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, a fellow Binance employee arrested by Nigerian officials alongside Gambaryan, was able to escape the following month and remains at large.