CBN orders Nigerian banks to close cryptocurrency accounts

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed banks in the country to close all cryptocurrency-related accounts.

According to a statement on Friday, the regulator prohibited all financial institutions from facilitating cryptocurrency payments in the country.

This directive is contained in a letter addressed to all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs) and other financial institutions (OFIs) on Friday.

According to the letter, signed by Bello Hassan, director of banking supervision, and Musa Jimoh, director, payments system of management department, the apex bank directed all DMBs, NBFIs and OFIs to identify persons and entities transacting in, or, operating crypto currency exchanges within their systems to close such accounts immediately.

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In the letter, the CBN referenced a circular it issued in January 12, 2017 ref FPR/DIR/GEN/CIR/06/010 which cautioned Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs)and other financial institutions (OFIs) as well as members of the public on the risk associated with transactions of crypto currency.

“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 is prohibited,” the statement reads.

“Please note that breaches of this directive will attract severe regulatory sanctions. This letter is with immediate effect,” the bank concluded.