An official of the Central Bank of Nigeria reiterated that there’s no ban on cryptocurrency trading. However, banks remain barred from working with crypto companies.
March 22, 2021 | AtoZ Markets – Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, which previously banned domestic banks from serving cryptocurrency exchanges, reportedly clarified the position of the highest monetary authority on the use of cryptocurrencies in the country.
According to local news outlet TodayNG, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, or CBN, Adamu Lamtek, said on Emefiele's behalf that the bank had not prohibited Nigerian residents from buying, trading or selling cryptocurrencies, but rather "[it protected] the banking sector from cryptocurrency activities." Lamtek spoke at a seminar for finance correspondents and business editors in the capital Abuja.
"The CBN did not place restrictions on the use of cryptocurrencies and we are not dissuading people from trading with them," Emefiele said." What we just did was ban cryptocurrency transactions in the banking sector."
The statement follows the CBN that announced last month in a circular that it had banned all regulated financial institutions from providing services to cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. The ban ordered all commercial banks to close accounts belonging to crypto exchanges and other companies conducting cryptocurrency transactions in Nigeria, warning of "severe regulatory penalties" for any institution that breaches the law. Some Access Bank of Nigeria account holders have already reported that their accounts have been closed.
Emefiele previously referred to cryptocurrencies as "non-legitimate money" that has no place in the Nigerian monetary system . The governor said at the time that the Central Bank was doing its due diligence to better understand the implications of the emerging space.
However, many regulators and crypto enthusiasts in Nigeria criticized the ban. Some Nigerian Senate lawmakers proposed inviting the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and major cryptocurrency stakeholders to a hearing to discuss issues related to the regulation of cryptocurrencies in the country.
Since the CBN introduced the ban on cryptocurrencies, the price of Bitcoin ( BTC) has traded at a premium in the country. With a value of $57,349 in the United States, data from the cryptocurrency exchange Luno shows that BTC has risen to a premium of more than 70% in Nigeria, with a price of $97,509.
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