The Central Bank of Nigeria has on Wednesday fined three Nigerian commercial banks a total of N800 million for failing to implement a directive that restricts customers from transacting cryptocurrencies.
The three Nigerian banks, Stanbic IBTC, Access bank and United Bank for Africa plc were fined N200m, N500m and N100m respectively for failing to comply with the apex’s bank order to block accounts of customers engaging in cryptocurrency transactions.
Brief background to the story
CBN on the 5th February 2021 released a circular to all Nigerian banks and financial institutions instructing them to block customers’ accounts engaging in cryptocurrency transactions of any sorts. Following the directive, FCMB, KUDA, GTBank, and Zenith Bank have been criticised by the Nigerian public for closing customer accounts, allegedly trading cryptocurrencies.
What they are saying
According to the Nigerian Exchange Ltd, Access Bank and United Bank for Africa Plc, processed the transactions while Stanbic IBTC faulted in failing to identify cryptocurrency transactions.
CBN, Nigeria’s apex bank, believes that cryptocurrencies are tools for money laundering schemes, terrorism financing and more financial crimes due to anonymity that exists in crypto trading. Another concern of the CBN is that cryptocurrencies are unregulated by any financial institutions.
By the numbers
Before the ban, Nigeria’s crypto trading in five years was worth $566 million. This ranked Nigeria third amongst the countries with the highest volumes of trades. Nonetheless, Nigeria’s peer-to-peer trading volume has risen by 16% in the 14months of the crypto ban, the worth of these transactions at the latest data check by nairametrics benchmarked it at $400 million.
Despite the ban by the CBN, Nigerians are not giving up on the crypto market yet.