LAGOS, May 14 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s markets regulator has released a set of regulations for digital assets, signaling that Africa’s most populous country is trying to find a happy medium between an outright ban on crypto assets and its unregulated use.

Last year, the central bank of Nigeria banned banks and financial institutions from dealing or facilitating transactions in digital currencies.

But the country’s young and tech-savvy population has enthusiastically embraced cryptocurrencies, for example, using peer-to-peer trading offered by cryptocurrency exchanges to bypass the financial sector ban.

The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) 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 return calls to his mobile phone.

The SEC said no digital asset exchange would be allowed to facilitate asset trading unless it has received a “no objection” decision from the commission.

A digital asset 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, eNaira, in hopes of expanding access to banking. Official digital currencies, unlike cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, are backed and controlled by the central bank. read more

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

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