Nigeria released new rules for digital assets, offering more clarity on trading in cryptocurrencies in Africa’s most populous nation.
The Securities and Exchange Commission published “rules on issuance, offering platforms and custody of digital assets” for virtual technologies, it said on its website. It classifies the assets as securities regulated by the SEC.
The rules may help boost trading by giving more clarity on the sector in a country that already ranks as among the biggest markets for digital assets. Nigeria accounts for the largest volume of cryptocurrency transactions outside the U.S., according to Paxful, a Bitcoin marketplace.
Last year, the central bank ordered commercial lenders to stop transactions or operations in cryptocurrencies, citing a threat to the financial system. The SEC said at the time it would seek to protect investors and make the market more transparent.
The regulations “could act as the precursor for a surprise move from the central bank to reverse its approach, providing critical foundations for mass crypto adoption across the country,” Owen Odia, country manager for Nigeria at cryptocurrency exchange Luno, said by email.
The new rules cover the issuance of digital assets as securities, the registration of platforms and digital asset custodians, exchanges and virtual assets service providers.