The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Tuesday, in a circular signed by the apex bank’s director, financial policy and regulation department, Kelvin Amugo, banned banks from all transactions in bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
The circular stated that the move was necessitated by money laundering and terrorism financing risks inherent in operations of virtual currencies..The CBN said;“The emergence of Virtual Currencies (VCs) has attracted investments in payments infrastructure that provides new methods of transmitting value over the internet.“Transactions in VCs are largely untraceable and anonymous making them susceptible to abuse by criminals, especially in money laundering and financing of terrorism.“VCs are traded in exchange platforms that are unregulated, all over the world.
Consumers may, therefore, lose their money without any legal redress in the event these exchanges collapse or close business.The attention of banks and other reporting financial institutions is hereby drawn to the above risks and you are required to take the following actions pending substantive regulation or decision by the CBN.”
“Where banks or other financial institutions are not satisfied with the controls put in place by the virtual currency exchangers/customers, the relationship should be discontinued.immediately; and any suspicious transactions by these customers should immediately be reported to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU),”The CBN also stressed that virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, Ripples, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecion, Onecoin and similar products are not legal tenders in Nigeria, thus any bank or institution that transacts in
such business does so at its own risk.