Nigerians are currently reacting to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s direction to banks to close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions within their systems.
The apex bank gave the direction in a circular released to deposit money banks (DMBs), non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), and other financial institutions (OFIs) on Friday.
“Further to earlier regulatory directives on the subject, the bank hereby wishes to remind regulated institutions that dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited, ” the circular signed by Bello Hassan, director for banking supervision, and Musa Jimoh, director of the payment system management department, read.
“Accordingly, all DMBs, NBFIs and OFIs are directed to identify persons and/or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.”
The apex bank noted that disobedience to the directive will attract severe sanctions.
This is coming after crypto marketplace Paxful reported that Nigeria had the world’s second-largest Bitcoin by trading volume.
It was gathered that Nigerians especially youths have traded 60,215 Bitcoins, or more than $566 million USD.
CBN had warned in the past that digital currencies such as bitcoin, litecoin, and others are largely used in terrorism financing and money laundering, considering the anonymity of virtual transactions.
It had also said that such currencies are not accepted as legal tender in Nigeria, warning people against investing in them.
However, many Nigerians have taken to social media to react to the new development.