CBN declares Bitcoin, other crypto-currencies illegal

…Threatens severe sanction for breaches

The Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), has directed Deposit-money banks, (DMBs) and other financial institutions to immediately close down any accounts dealing in crypto-currencies or facilitating payment for crypto-currency exchange with immediate effect.

The apex bank, in a circular issued yesterday, cautioned the DMBs non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), other financial institutions (OFIs) and members of the public on the risk associated with transactions in crypto-currency.

The circular, which was signed by the Director of Banking Supervision, Bello Hassan, and the Director of Payments System Management Department, Musa Jimoh, stated: “Further to earlier regulatory directives on the subject, the bank hereby wishes to remind regulated institutions that dealing in crypto-currencies or facilitating payment for crypto-currencies exchange is prohibited”.

The banking regulator also directed banks to unveil the identities of individuals and entities running such accounts, warning that failure to adhere to the directives would attract strict sanctions.

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