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Nigeria Warned its Citizens About Onecoin and Bitcoin This Week

(@mpmcsweeney) | Published on January 13, 2017 at 21:15 BST
News

Local advertisements for OneCoin and other digital currency investments have drawn the ire of Nigeria’s top securities regulatory.

In a statement published yesterday by the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the regulator warned that potential investors should "exercise extreme caution" in light of radio advertisements and other sales pitches made for OneCoin, bitcoin and types of digital currencies.

The agency said in a statement:

"The Commission wishes to alert the public that none of the persons, companies or entities promoting cryptocurrencies has been recognized or authorized by it or by other regulatory agencies in Nigeria to receive deposits from the public or to provide any investment or other financial services in or from Nigeria."

Nigeria's SEC went on to state that in some cases, those promoting the aforementioned advertisement may be conducting wholly fraudulent enterprises.

"The public should also be aware that any investment opportunities promoted by these persons, companies or entities are likely to be of a risky nature with a high risk of loss of money, whilst others may be outright fraudulent pyramid schemes," the statement read.

The timing is perhaps unsurprising, given recent developments.

Earlier this month, the controversial Ponzi scheme system MMM announced that it would reopen its doors in Nigeria, telling prospective users that it would introduce bitcoin as a form of payment, according to a report from Quartz.

OneCoin – which has widely accused of operating a fraudulent Ponzi scheme and has been targeted by other regulatory warnings and investigations – also does business in Nigeria.

Nigerian authorities have previously called for improved regulation of digital currency in the country.

In mid-2015, Okwu Nnanna of the Central Bank of Nigeria advocated for the creation of new rules to prevent potential money laundering arising from use of the tech.

Nigeria image via Shutterstock

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