The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has banned commercial financial institutions from providing services to cryptocurrency exchanges and digital asset companies.
In a circular issued Friday, the CBN ordered banks to close accounts of crypto exchanges.
According to the apex bank, this prohibition on crypto trading is an extension of earlier warnings from the bank about the risks associated with cryptocurrencies.
As part of the ban on crypto trading in Nigeria, the CBN has ordered all commercial banks in the country to close accounts belonging to crypto exchanges as well as other businesses transacting in digital currencies.
The CBN also warned that failure of banks to comply with the directive will result in severe sanctions.
Cryptocurrencies have become popular in Nigeria. According to Google Trends, Nigeria, with an estimated 206 million people is number one in the world in terms of search interest for Bitcoin.
“On the issue of cryptocurrency, I think blockchain technology is novel and coming up strong. We don’t want to be left behind. I think the world is taking the issue of cryptocurrency and block-chain technology seriously. We don’t want to be left behind, and we have to take it seriously,”
In October 2020, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey urged users to donate bitcoins to support the #EndSARS# protest. Shortly thereafter, CBN ordered the suspension of bank accounts belonging to #EndSARS# supporters receiving crypto donations.
Previously, the Nigeria Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recognized digital assets as securities “unless proven otherwise.”