Nigeria’s market regulator has released a set of regulations for digital assets, signaling that Africa’s most populous country is trying to find a middle ground between an outright ban on crypto assets and their unregulated use.
Last year, Nigeria’s central bank banned banks and financial institutions from trading or facilitating transactions in digital currencies.
But the country’s young and tech-savvy population has eagerly embraced cryptocurrencies, for example using the peer-to-peer trading offered by crypto exchanges to avoid financial industry bans.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Nigeria has published the “New Rules on Issuance, Offering Platforms and Custody of Digital Assets” on its website.
The 54-page document sets out registration requirements for digital asset offerings and custodians, and classifies the assets as SEC-regulated securities.
A central bank spokesman did not respond to calls on his cellphone.
The SEC said no digital asset exchange would be allowed to facilitate asset trading unless it received a “no objection” ruling from the commission.
A digital asset exchange will have to pay 30 million naira ($72,289) as registration fees, among other fees.
In October, Nigeria launched a digital currency, eNaira, in hopes of expanding access to banking services. Official digital currencies, unlike cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, are backed and controlled by the central bank.