Nigerian market regulator publishes rules on crypto assets

LAGOS, May 14 (Reuters) – The Nigerian market regulator has released a series of regulations for digital assets, indicating that Africa’s most populous country is trying to strike a balance between an outright ban on crypto assets and their unregulated use.

Nigeria’s central bank last year banned banks and financial institutions from trading or facilitating transactions in digital currencies.

But the country’s young, tech-savvy population has eagerly adopted cryptocurrencies, for example, using peer-to-peer trading offered by crypto exchanges to circumvent the ban on the financial sector.

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The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has published the “New Rules for Issuance, Offering Platforms and Custody of Digital Assets” on its website.

The 54-page document sets out registration requirements for offerings and custodians of digital assets, and classifies the assets as securities regulated by the SEC.

A central bank spokesman did not answer calls on his cell phone.

The SEC said exchanging digital assets would not facilitate asset trading unless it received a “no objection” ruling from the commission.

Among other things, a digital asset exchange must pay 30 million naira ($72,289) as a registration fee.

In October, Nigeria launched a digital currency, the eNaira, in hopes of expanding access to banking. Official digital currencies, unlike cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, are supported and controlled by the central bank. read more

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Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe in Lagos and Camillus Eboh in Abuja Editing by Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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