By Taiwo Okanlawon
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. See reactions;
— JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) February 5, 2021
How can you ban crypto transactions in 2021 !! A currency that’s growing our economy little by little.People are making money legitimately.Doubling their money and taking care of their families with it!They just want us to suffer! Our government hates progress!! It’s saddening💔
— Oyindamola🙄 (@dammiedammie35) February 5, 2021
Please stop spreading fake news.
CBN didn't not ban cryptocurrencies like bitcoin(nobody can ban it)
That circular would only make it impossible for you to fund your binance/luno/BuyCoins/bundle account directly with Naira.
Nothing changed more than that!
— Tosin Olugbenga (@TosinOlugbenga) February 5, 2021
Buhari loves cattle currency, not crypto currency.
— Kelvin Odanz (@MrOdanz) February 5, 2021
The CBN felt threatened cos they are losing people to Crypto. People are transferring the money in their bank account to where it will be beneficial for them but the government hate to see it. Truth is they can’t control what they don’t understand. Bitcoin is going no where.
— Valar Morghulis ♮ (@tommy_viccetti) February 5, 2021
I hope folks in the tech space are starting to understand the importance of taking governance and politics serious. You need someone to do your bidding in government. Government has shown it will shutdown any idea it doesn’t understand. Ride #Gokada #opay #fintech next #agrictech
— Bamikole Omishore (Banks) (@MrBanksOmishore) February 5, 2021
Nigerian Govt want us all to suffer and need them for everything.
— Bizzle Osikoya (@bizzleosikoya) February 5, 2021
You can find a way to tax it
You can find a way to regulate it
Don't stop BANKS from letting us buy and withdraw crypto !!!! #WeWantOurCryptoBack
— Dehkunle of Africa 💧🐐 (@Dehkunle) February 5, 2021
Federal Government banning Crypto is another proof this country is designed to make people poor.
— DREYLO (@RealDreylo) February 5, 2021
The funny thing is, I found a solution inside the hour the news came out. But what about the system? The people working in companies built on this market? The investor fund? The deep and complex outcomes on Nigeria and what it means to invest here. That’s the real cost & tragedy. https://t.co/mlYnNXOvO8
— JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) February 5, 2021
: Hey stop there, may we know you.
: We wan check your phone, bring am.
: Wetin be this, no be Bitcoin be this, sergeant this boy Na criminal.
: we go waste you nothing go happen.
:Breaking news: police k!lled a pregnant woman while chasing suspected crypto traders.
— OA ✨ (@Biisi96) February 5, 2021
Betting company be ready o… You're next after CRYPTO
— YOUR NUMBER1 DATA PLUG🇳🇬🔌 (@SK_ENTERPRISE1) February 5, 2021