Nigeria Central Bank orders closure of Cryptocurrency accounts
Nigeria’s central bank on Friday ordered banks and financial institutions to immediately close accounts transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges, saying such deals are “prohibited.”
Failure to comply with the directive will result in “severe regulatory sanctions,” according to a circular sent to financial institutions on Friday and published on the central bank’s website.
The country’s Securities and Exchange Commission said in September it would regulate trade in digital currencies to provide protection for investors and to ensure that transactions are transparent.
Africa's largest economy has become a huge market for cryptocurrency trade, but the central bank has warned for several years that the currencies are not regulated nor are they legal tender in Nigeria.
Digital currencies are popular in Nigeria, where they are seen as ways of easing business in a country known for currency fluctuations and often sidelined in the past by the global financial system.
The central bank has warned since 2017 that the currencies are not authorized, however, and that traders and investors in them were at risk as they were not protected by law.