The buzz of the moment circumvents the Central Bank of Nigerian (CBN) ban on cryptocurrencies and other related transactions. Sometime last week a circular on the Internet revealed that the Nigerian apex bank had indeed ordered that all commercial money banks, non-bank financial institutions and all associated institutions identify customers transacting in cryptocurrencies and close their accounts immediately. It should be noted that this is not the first time that the Central Bank of Nigeria has been hostile to the crypto platform as they stated in 2017 that they would not licence cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Dogecoin, Onecoin, Ripples, Bitcoin and many more. Amongst these cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is known to be the most popular for Nigerians making Paxful report that as of 2020 Nigeria has the second largest trading volume of Bitcoin.
Since the passing of this circular, it became mandatory that all crypto transactions and payment processors have stopped naira deposits. The initial status quo was that many of these cryptocurrencies can be exchanged for naira or other currency as the customer chooses and many more. This power has been taken by the Central Bank and has caused many Nigerians to be aggrieved as the transactional power of cryptocurrencies have been taken away. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in response to the uproar released a statement on the 7th of February 2021 responded that the prohibition of cryptocurrency was merely enforcing the directive of 2017. The apex bank further stated that the ban on cryptocurrencies was not peculiar to Nigeria alone as other countries around the world have enforced such laws as well. Finally, CBN also made it known that many of these cryptocurrencies were issued by unlicensed and unregulated entities and could be used inappropriately if not properly monitored.
However, as well-meaning Nigerians, we can only hope for the best.
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