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Not from us—CBN denies directing banks to restrict crypto accounts

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has denied directing commercial banks to restrict cryptocurrency accounts in the country.

A view shows Nigeria's Central Bank headquarters in Abuja
A view shows Nigeria's Central Bank headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria November 22, 2020. Picture taken November 22, 2020. Credit: REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Abuja, Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has denied directing commercial banks to restrict cryptocurrency accounts in the country.

The apex bank in a post on X on Wednesday, explained that the circular in the public domain was not from the bank.

CBN urged Nigerians to visit its official website for “authentic updates”.

The circular stated that all deposit money banks (DMBs), non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), and other financial institutions (OFIs) were directed to identify persons and entities transacting in cryptocurrencies and ensure such accounts are put on post-no-debit (PND) instruction for six months.

The apex bank in February 2021 issued a circular to deposit money banks (DMBs), non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), and OFIs to close accounts of persons or corporate entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions within their systems.

The bank in its regulatory powers warned financial institutions in the country against dealing in crypto assets or facilitating payments for crypto exchanges, citing concerns over money laundering (ML), terrorism financing (TF), cybercrime, and the volatility of cryptocurrencies as reasons for the ban.

However, in December 2023, CBN lifted the ban and directed all financial institutions and banks to carry out cryptocurrency services.

The apex bank also issued operational guidelines on virtual assets service providers (VASPs) to all banks and OFIs.

In its explanation, VASPs means any entity that conducts exchange between virtual assets (cryptocurrencies), fiat currencies and transfers of virtual assets.

The December 2023 circular cleared all doubt about the restriction of cryptocurrency transactions. 

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