The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has banned Nigerians from buying and selling bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies.
The move, observers say, will impact negatively on the ability of young Nigerians who freelance and work remotely to receive international payments. This, they say, could render more youth unemployed.
Critics say the move is in retaliation against EndSARS protesters who switched to cryptocurrencies after CBN, in October 2020, blocked them from raising money via conventional banking platforms.
CBN, via a circular issued on Friday, ordered banks and other financial institutions to close customer accounts used in trading cryptocurrencies and other related transactions.
The circular reads:
“LETTER TO ALL DEPOSIT MONEY BANKS, NON-BANK FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
“The Central of Bank of (CBN) circular of January ‘2. 2017 ref FPR’DR/GENICR/O€,’OIO which cautioned Deposit Money Banks (OM3s), Non-Bank Financial Institutions (N3Fts), Other Financial Institutjons (OFls) and members of the Public on the risk with transactions in crypto currency refers.
“Further to earlier regulatory directives on the subject, the Bank hereby wishes to remind regulating institutions that dealing in crypto currencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.
“Accordingly, all DMSs, NBFIs and OFls are directed to identify persons and/or entitles transacting in or operating crypto currency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.
“Please note that breaches to this directve will attract severe regulatory sanctions.
“This letter is with immediate effect.”