The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has banned commercial financial institutions from providing services to crypto exchanges and digital asset companies, according to a circular issued by the CBN.
As part of the ban, the CBN has ordered all commercial banks in the country to close accounts belonging to crypto exchanges. As well as other businesses transacting in digital currencies. A failure to comply with this directive will result in severe sanctions.
This has attracted a lot of anger and frustration from the citizens of Nigeria. Many of whom took to social media to express these emotions. Among them was Senator Ben Murray Bruce who said. “I thought it’s universal knowledge that decisions or policy regarding finance or economy should never be hasty?”
Blogger, Japhet Omojuwa added that, “Individuals that can fund the entire Nigerian budget for donkey years are betting on Bitcoin but Hassan and Musa are afraid it could make Nigerians wealthy. Welcome to the Dark Age! Others are in the Age of Deep Learning. We are in The Age of Deep Poverty.”
CBN Not Ready With Crypto Regulations
Professor of Finance at the Nassarawa State University, Uche Uwaleke. Believes that the action came because CBN and SEC were not ready with regulations guiding crypto-asset trading platforms in Nigeria. “The directive by the CBN to banks should be seen in the light of the risk that unregulated cryptocurrency trading could pose to the financial system”.
On the other side of the spectrum, former presidential hopeful Adamu Garba praised the decision. “With the banning of crypto transactions, I believe the CBN is taking proactive measures to protect Nigerians from fraudsters who deceive ordinary citizens & rid them of their earnings.”
Cryptocurrencies are extremely popular in Nigeria. Google Trends data ranking the country number one in the world in terms of search interest for Bitcoin.
Nigeria rose into the spot after young citizens who were barred from local payment methods by the government. Opting for Bitcoin to fund the October 2020 #EndSARS protests against police brutality and bad governance in the country.