Nigeria’s central bank says it did not ban cryptocurrency trading

A senior official from Nigeria’s central bank denied claims that the bank has banned cryptocurrency, according to local media outlet Today NG.

Adamu Lamtek, the Central Bank of Nigeria official, reportedly said that the bank was, in fact, protecting the country’s banking sector from cryptocurrencies and that it never outlawed crypto trading.

According to a report, CBN officials have stated its crypto directive is not to be misconstrued for an outright ban. Instead, the central bank disclosed it was only reiterated an already implemented 2017 restriction on financial institutions facilitating the transactions in cryptocurrency.

No crypto transaction for banking sector

“The CBN didn’t impose a ban on cryptocurrencies and we’re not discouraging people from trading in it,” CoinTelegraph quoted Godwin Emefiele, governor of CBN, as saying. “What we’ve just done was to restrict transactions on cryptocurrencies in the banking sector,” he clarified.

The clarification comes more than a month after the country’s central bank told all banking entities to immediately suspend their services for customers who acquire, sell, or trade digital currencies. It is not clear what prompted the CBN’s directive.

Confusion in Nigeria’s crypto space

There was confusion last month when the central bank said it was mandating regulated banking groups that “dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.” They were told to “identify persons and/or entities” transacting with cryptocurrency or operating crypto exchanges, CoinDesk reported.

Emefiele has previously referred to virtual currencies as “not legitimate money” with no place in the country’s monetary infrastructure. The official added that at the time, the CBN was doing its part to better take a clear grasp of the implications of the emerging cryptocurrency space.

Despite the regulatory uncertainty, Nigeria is often referred to as Africa’s “Bitcoin Nation” as the country’s crypto trading volume outperformed most other nations in the world.


Image courtesy of Roger Brown/Pexels

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