BY Wasilat Azeez
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed banks to close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions within their systems.
This is according to a circular released to deposit money banks (DMBs), non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), and other financial institutions (OFIs) on Friday.
In January 2017, CBN had said 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.
In February 2018, the apex bank also issued a warning to people who invest in cryptocurrencies, saying they would be unable to seek legal redress in the event of collapse because they are not protected by the law.
“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.