The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it never banned Cryptocurrency transaction in Nigeria, explaining that it only directed commercial banks under its supervision not to engage in cryptocurrency trading because it is considered illegal under the CBN Act.
The central bank also said it never prevented any individual from dealing in cryptocurrency.
The apex bank made the clarification to correct the misinformation in public over its directive to banks not to accept or transact businesses that have anything to do with Cryptocurrency.
“The CBN Act recognises the Naira as the only legal tender in the Nigerian financial system
“The CBN never prevented any individual from dealing in cryptocurrency. What the CBN said was deposit money banks under its purview cannot partake in cryptocurrency because it will be illegal,” the CBN said in a statement that was made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday.
The central bank said official Cryptocurrency trading in Nigeria will also undermine monetary policy which is anchored on Naira money supply and demand.
“CBN is also concerned that bitcoin valuation is excessively speculative, akin to betting, and it will not make sense to run a currency system based gambling. Why people will come charging on Emiefele over banning banks from digital currencies is inexplicable.”
Bitcoin and other variants of digital currencies are not only unregulated the world over, but they are now used as weapons by cyber criminals.
The last time cyber criminals hijacked the customer data base of one of Nigerian banks, they demanded ransoms in bitcoin before they released the database.
“Since bitcoin addresses are psedonymous, it is not possible to trace them. The CBN cannot fold its arms and see cryptocurrency destroy the entire banking system with all the unsavoury consequences of banking crisis and bailouts. Turkey had also banned bitcoin because it was becoming a channel for money laundering on an unimaginable scale.
“So, if any Nigerian wants to deal in digital currencies, bitcoin, or whatever, such person is free to do so, only that there is no platform for a cryptocurrency payment system.
Accordingly, such a person could as well go to wherever such platform is legalised since the bitcoin market is virtual 24/7,” the statement added