Nigerian Markets Regulator Issues Crypto Asset Rules

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LAGOS: Nigeria’s markets regulator has issued a set of regulations for digital assets, signaling that Africa’s most populous country is trying to find 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.

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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.

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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.

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