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Nigerians react as CBN orders closure of accounts transacting in cryptocurrency

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Nigerians have taken to Twitter to react to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s order to close accounts of any individual transacting in cryptocurrency.
A September 2020 reports by Bitcoin.com and Decrypt revealed that Nigeria ranked eighth on the list of top ten countries in the world with the highest cryptocurrency adoption.

However, in a letter signed today by the Director of Banking Supervision, Bello Hassan, in a letter signed on Friday, February 5th 2021, all banks are expected to begin the immediate closure of accounts linked with crypto because is prohibited.

Recent reports suggest that Nigeria is now the world’s second-largest Bitcoin trading volume. Nigerians have traded 60,215 Bitcoins in the last five years, or more than $566 million USD, according to Paxful.

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Hassan, however, noted that banks who fail to adhere to the instruction given will face heavy regulatory sanctions.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria circular of January 12, 2017, ref FPR/DIR/GEN/CIR/06/010 which cautioned Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs), other Financial Institutions and members of the public on the risk associated with transactions in cryptocurrency refers.

“Further to earlier regulatory directions on the subject, the bank hereby wishes to remind regulated institutions dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.

“Accordingly, all DMB’s NBFI’s or OFI’s 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.

“Please, note that breaches of this directive will attract severe regulatory sanctions. This letter is with immediate effect”.

Reacting on social media, many young Nigerians have described the move by the CBN as an attack on them:

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