Nigerian Citizens Are Not Banned From Trading Bitcoin and Crypto, Says Central Bank


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reportedly clarified that Nigerians can freely trade Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies.

According to a report by Nigerian news outlet Today.ng, the CBN says that a directive it released last month to financial institutions should not be interpreted as an outright ban on the use of crypto assets.

Representing CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, Deputy Governor Adamu Lamtek highlights that only certain financial institutions are forbidden from using, holding, trading, or transacting in cryptocurrencies.

“The CBN did not place restrictions from use of cryptocurrencies and we are not discouraging people from trading in it. What we have just done was to prohibit transactions on cryptocurrencies in the banking sector.”

The clarification comes after CBN’s banking supervision department sent a directive telling financial institutions that “dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.”

In an explanation that followed last month’s reminder, the CBN outlined three reasons for its stance.

“First, in light of the fact that they are issued by unregulated and unlicensed entities, their use in Nigeria goes against the key mandates of the CBN, as enshrined in the CBN Act (2007), as the issuer of legal tender in Nigeria. In effect, the use of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria are a direct contravention of existing law.

Second, the very name and nature of ‘cryptocurrencies’ suggests that its patrons and users value anonymity, obscurity, and concealment… It is on the basis of this opacity that cryptocurrencies have become well-suited for conducting many illegal activities including money laundering, terrorism financing, purchase of small arms and light weapons, and tax evasion.

More also, repeated and recent evidence now suggests that some cryptocurrencies have become more widely used as speculative assets… Unfortunately, with a conglomeration of desperate, disparate, and unregulated actors comes unprecedented price volatility that have threatened many sophisticated financial systems.”

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