Nigeria’s markets regulator has produced a set of digital asset regulations, indicating that the continent’s most populous country is attempting to strike a balance between outright bans on crypto assets and their unregulated use. Last year, Nigeria’s central bank prohibited banks and financial organizations from trading with or assisting digital currency transactions. However, the country’s young, tech-savvy population has embraced cryptocurrencies, for example, employing crypto exchanges’ peer-to-peer trading to circumvent the financial sector prohibition. On its website, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria (SEC) announced the “New Rules on Issuance, Offering Platforms, and Custody of Digital Assets.”
The 54-page document lays out registration requirements for digital assets offerings and custodians, and classifies the assets as securities regulated by the SEC. A central bank spokesperson did not answer calls to his mobile phone. The SEC said no digital assets exchange would be allowed to facilitate trading of assets unless it had received a “no objection” ruling from the commission. A digital assets exchange will be required to pay 30 million naira ($72,289) as a registration fee, among other fees. In October, Nigeria launched a digital currency, the eNaira, in the hope of expanding access to banking. Official digital currencies, unlike cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, are backed and controlled by the central bank.
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