CBN Prohibits Operation of Crypto Currency Accounts

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*Directs banks to identify persons, entities dealing in crypto currencies

*Threatens severe sanction for breaches

Festus Akanbi

The Central Bank of Nigeria has directed banks 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 banking regulatory authorities 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.

The apex bank, in a circular on Friday cautioned deposit money banks, (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, states: “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 cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.

“Accordingly, all DMBs, NBFs and OFIs are directed to identify persons and entities transacting in or operating crypto currency exchanges within their system and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.

“Please note that breaches for this directive will attract severe regulatory sanctions.”