What she needs most of all is a course in diplomacy. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is adding fuel to the fire by reaffirming its willingness to ban cryptomoney from Nigeria.
On 5 February 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria sent a letter to local banks to identify and close all accounts linked to platforms or cryptographic operations.
Binance is then obliged to temporarily suspend deposits in Nigerian Naira. Following the protests caused by this NCB directive, the NCB stands firm on its position.
It indicated in a 5-page document that this directive aims to protect the country’s financial system against the « risks » associated with cryptomoney.
The NCB emphasised that it has « not imposed any new restrictions on cryptosystems ». It merely recalls the main points of the circular published in January 2017.
This circular stated that the use of cryptomoney was contrary to the « key mandate of the NCB as an issuer of currency that is legal tender in the country ».
Warren Buffet in Nigeria
Despite these regulatory restrictions on cryptomoney, the adoption of cryptomoney has been increasing in the country.
Nigeria is now one of the world’s leading cryptographic markets. The NCB has decided not to consider these facts. It even goes so far as to base its anti-cryptos measures on unsubstantiated claims.
For example, the NCB has stated that China has « completely banned [the cryptosystems] and that all exchanges have been closed down as well ».
The NCB even tried to discredit the cryptos by invoking Warren Buffet’s anti-Bitcoin (BTC) rhetoric.
The central bank said it « will continue to do everything in its power to educate Nigerians to renounce » the use of cryptoskills.
Some crypto players have suggested that they may be forced to leave their home country to pursue opportunities elsewhere.
For Adedayo Adebagio, managing director of the consulting firm Jelorida Africa, this decision by the NCB was inevitable. In his view, the recent Endsars protests are one of the factors that contributed to this change in the NCB’s approach.
At the end of 2020, the NCB ordered the freezing of bank accounts associated with the leaders of the Endsars movement. The Endsars leaders then requested donations of Bitcoin.
Will the NCB be the first institution to carry out its threats to ban the use of cryptography in the country? Warren Buffet will send it a congratulatory letter when it wins this war.
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