Nigeria’s central bank not discouraging people from trading crypto, says governor

The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria has seemingly softened his stance on crypto for individuals, if not banks.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of Nigeria’s central bank which previously banned banks from servicing crypto exchanges, has reportedly clarified the bank’s position on the use of cryptocurrencies in the country.

According to local news outlet TodayNG, Central Bank of Nigeria, or CBN, deputy governor Adamu Lamtek said on behalf of Emefiele that the bank had not banned Nigerian residents from buying, trading, or selling crypto, but “[protected] the banking sector from the activities of cryptocurrencies.” Lamtek spoke at a seminar for the Finance Correspondents and Business Editors in the capital, Abuja.

“The CBN did not place restrictions from use of cryptocurrencies and we are not discouraging people from trading in it,” said Emefiele. “What we have just done was to prohibit transactions on cryptocurrencies in the banking sector.”

The statement follows the CBN announcing last month in a circular that it had placed a ban on all regulated financial institutions from providing services to crypto exchanges in the country. The ban directed all commercial banks to close accounts belonging to crypto exchanges and other businesses transacting in cryptocurrencies in Nigeria, warning of “severe regulatory sanctions” for any institution in breach of the rule. Some account holders at Nigeria’s Access Bank have already reported their accounts have been closed.

Emefiele previously referred to cryptocurrencies as “not legitimate money” with no place in Nigeria’s monetary system. The governor said at the time the central bank was doing its due diligence to better understand the implications of the emerging space.

However, many regulators and crypto enthusiasts in Nigeria have criticized the ban. Some lawmakers in the Nigerian Senate have proposed inviting the CBN governor and major crypto stakeholders to a hearing to discuss issues related to crypto regulations in the country.

Since the CBN introduced the crypto ban, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) has been trading at a premium in the country. Valued at $57,349 in the United States, data from crypto exchange Luno currently shows BTC has risen to a more than 70% premium in Nigeria at a price of $97,509.

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Nigeria’s Vice President makes a surprising case for Cryptocurrencies

Nigerians bounce back with a defiant response to the government’s Bitcoin ban

A contradictory statement has recently been made by Nigeria’s Vice president Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, concerning the recently imposed Cryptocurrency ban by the country’s Central bank. The Vice President explained at the CBN bankers committee economic summit, that digital currencies are an inevitable part of the country’s economy. Prof. Osibanjo makes a fair case for digital […]

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Blockchain and crypto will challenge current finance, Nigeria VP says

Yemi Osinbajo sees potential for crypto and blockchain.

Nigeria’s vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, delivered a speech at an economic summit on Friday in which he spoke positively of crypto and blockchain. 

“There is no question that blockchain technology generally, and cryptocurrencies in particular, will in the coming years, challenge traditional banking, including reserve banking, in ways that we cannot yet imagine,” Osinbajo said on Friday during the Central Bank of Nigeria, or CBN, Bankers’ Committee Economic Summit. “We need to be prepared for that seismic shift, and it may come sooner than later,” he said.

The Nigerian vice president also noted the broadness of the crypto industry, mentioning decentralized finance, or DeFi, in the mix. “Decentralized finance, using smart contracts to create financial instruments, in place of central financial intermediaries, such as banks or brokerages, is set to challenge traditional finance,” he said. 

Osinbajo’s speech, which included a number of other points, is posted on his YouTube channel. The Nigerian vice president also tweeted out a video clip highlighting of some of his crypto comments from his talk.

“The point I’m making, is that some of the exciting developments we see call for prudence and care in adopting them and these have been very well-articulated by our regulatory authorities,” he said, adding:

“But we must act with knowledge and not with fear. We must ensure that we are in a position to benefit and in a position to prevent any of the adverse side effects, or any of the possible, even criminal, acts that may arise in consequence of adopting or taking any of these options.”

The comments come in contrast to recent developments in Nigeria. Earlier in February, Nigeria forbade banking interactions with crypto exchanges, as per a ruling from its central bank. The CBN’s governor also called crypto assets illegitimate. Bitcoin recently traded at a significant premium in the region.

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Nigeria’s SEC and Central Bank Partner to “Look Into” Cryptocurrencies Weeks After Ban

Nigerian Youths Are Unfazed By Country’s New Bitcoin Ban

After a few weeks of placing a ban on cryptocurrency trading in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria has agreed to partner with the country’s SEC to study cryptocurrencies further for a better regulation strategy. This comes as a result of the SEC advocating for a look into the industry rather than a complete […]

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