The Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) is seeking the guidance and collaboration of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to harmonize the peer-to-peer (P2P) foreign exchange (FX) digital currency sector in Nigeria.

This request was made by ABCON President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, during a courtesy visit to the newly appointed SEC Director-General, Dr. Timi Agama, in Lagos.

Gwadabe congratulated Dr. Agama on his appointment by President Bola Tinubu and emphasized the significant growth of the digital money market in Nigeria.

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He noted, “With the emergence of virtual currency fintech startups and the increasing adoption of blockchain-enabled payments, Nigerians are embracing digital currencies as a convenient and efficient way to transact. However, there is still a need to harmonize and regulate this emerging market.”

He highlighted the role of Bureau de Change (BDC) operators, stating, “BDCs have long been a familiar sight in Nigeria’s financial landscape. These licensed entities specialize in foreign exchange transactions and are well-positioned to play a key role in harmonizing the digital money market.”

Gwadabe pointed out the threats posed to BDCs by online virtual transaction platforms, which allow millions of Nigerians to trade in foreign exchange without traceability and accountability. “ABCON has invested in requisite technology to ensure the continued existence of the business and preserve the integrity of the sub-sector,” he explained, adding, “The future of BDC’s business is digital currency.”

During the meeting, Gwadabe elaborated on ABCON’s history and objectives, mentioning its role since 1991 as the umbrella body for all licensed retail foreign exchange dealers. He stated, “Our objective is to liaise with our regulators, relevant stakeholders, and security agencies. The BDC market is global and has been in operation before our independence and the creation of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

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He also provided statistics, noting, “As of today, there are over 34 million Nigerians dealing in digital currency, with the number rising by about 9% annually, creating a market of $9 billion.” He emphasized the need for trust in innovation and mentioned ABCON’s partnerships to capture fiat and digital money, aiming to automate the entire foreign exchange retail market.

Dr. Agama responded positively, indicating SEC’s openness to support the sector. He said, “We are open to help the sector grow for the love of the country. There will be meetings with relevant SEC departments to detail methods and strategies that will strengthen the Naira through innovative ideas shared by ABCON.”

ABCON’s technical partner, Mr. Oluwasegun Kosemani, expressed gratitude to the SEC team and highlighted the resources allocated to the platform’s development. He explained, “The main objective of the platform is to harmonize data, ensure all digital FX merchants come under a very viable and visible platform, promoting transparency and generating substantial government revenue through legitimate transactions.”

Gwadabe concluded by stressing the potential of BDCs to drive the growth and development of the digital money market, benefiting Nigeria’s economy. “By leveraging their existing infrastructure and expertise, BDCs can provide liquidity, security, and convenience to individuals and businesses participating in the digital economy,” h