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CBN Orders Banks to Close Cryptocurrency Accounts

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered banks to close corporate and personal accounts transacting in cryptocurrency in Nigeria.

This is according to a circular dated 5th February 2021 distributed to deposit money banks (DMBs), non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), and other financial institutions (OFIs).

“Further to earlier regulatory directives on the subject, the bank hereby wishes to remind regulated institutions that dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited, ” the circular signed by Bello Hassan, director for banking supervision, and Musa Jimoh, director of the payment system management department, read.

“Accordingly, all DMBs, NBFIs and OFIs 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.”

The apex bank warned local financial institutions against having any transactions in crypto or facilitating payments for crypto exchanges.

CBN had in January 2017 said digital currencies such as bitcoin, litecoin, and others are largely used in terrorism financing and money laundering, considering the anonymity of virtual transactions.

The bank said virtual currencies are largely used in terrorism financing and money laundering, considering the anonymity of virtual transactions.

“The attention of bank and other financial institutions is hereby drawn to the above risks and you are required to take the following actions actions pending substantive regulation or decision by the CBN,” CBN said in an earlier  statement.

“Ensure that you do not use, hold, trade and/or transact in any way in virtual currencies. Ensure that existing customers that are virtual currency exchangers have effective capital AML/CFT controls that enable them to comply with customer identification, verification and transfer, monitoring requirements.

Also, in February 2018, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said people who invest in cryptocurrencies do so at their own risk because they are not protected by the law.

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