The CBN issued two letters over the weekend prohibiting banks from dealing in cryptocurrencies and clarifying that this rule had been in place for the reason that begin of 2017
On Friday, the Central Financial institution of Nigeria (CBN) issued a letter to the nation’s monetary establishments stating that “… dealing in crypto currencies or facilitating funds for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.”
The letter additionally directed them to “… determine individuals and/or entities transacting in or working crypto foreign money exchanges inside their programs and be certain that such accounts are closed instantly”, with a warning that failing to conform would end in extreme regulatory sanctions.
Cryptocurrencies rose in recognition in Nigeria all through 2020, fuelled by the pandemic and CBN’s devaluation of the naira. Younger Nigerians specifically turned to digital currencies to guard their financial savings from extortion by the particular anti-robbery squad (SARS), in addition to to boost funds for protests.
Actually, Google trend data reveals that Nigeria has been looking out ‘bitcoin’ greater than every other nation over the previous 12 months, and Quartz Africa revealed on the finish of final 12 months that Nigeria had change into the second largest Bitcoin market by quantity behind the US.
Following CBN’s directive, Binance Nigeria announced they had been suspending naira deposits, leading to quite a lot of backlash in opposition to CBN, with many suggesting the ban is a step backwards and can drive many Nigerians to chop out monetary establishments totally by turning to see to see exchanges as an alternative.
After reactions to the Friday letter, CBN issued a second 5 web page letter on Sunday justifying their place. The second letter clarified that the primary letter didn’t represent a change however was merely a reiteration of restrictions outlined in an earlier round dated 12 January 2017.
CBN additionally claimed their place was not an outlier by itemizing 16 different international locations that had restricted use of cryptocurrencies and suggesting they carry vital dangers and are used for felony actions reminiscent of cash laundering and terrorism financing.
The letter goes on to element varied objections to cryptocurrencies from around the globe, reminiscent of Warren Buffet’s labelling of them as “rat poison squared”, and Governor of the Financial institution of England, Andrew Bailey’s, considerations about their excessive worth volatility.
CBN concluded by asserting that Nigeria will nonetheless be a pacesetter in FinTech growth by advantage of their fee system and initiatives together with regulatory sandbox and open banking ideas.