The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered all financial institutions including banks in the country to shut accounts of citizens or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions within their systems.
Nigeria’s apex bank stated this on Friday in a circular signed by Director, Banking supervision, Bello Hassan and Director, Payments Systems Management Department, Musa Jimoh.
The circular was addressed to deposit money banks (DMBs), non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), and other financial institutions (OFIs).
The CBN had in January 2017 had said digital currencies such as bitcoin, litecoin, and others are largely used in terrorism financing and money laundering, considering the anonymity of virtual transactions, and as such the currencies are not accepted as legal tender in Nigeria.
“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 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 CBN noted that disobedience to the directive will attract severe regulatory sanctions.