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Crypto trading not banned, says Nigeria Central Bank

People can still trade and use crypto in Nigeria as the Central Bank's directive also covered banks.

Abuja National Mosque, Nigeria / Image by: Wikimedia Commons

Mon, 22 Mar 2021, 15:06 pm UTC

A senior official from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) clarified that the monetary authority has not banned crypto trading not placed any restrictions on its use in the country. The official explained that CBN’s directive applies only to the banking sector.

Adamu Lamtek, Central Bank of Nigeria deputy director for corporate services, said that CBN never banned cryptocurrency activities in the country, according to Today NG. This means that individuals can still trade in cryptos such as Bitcoin.

Lamtek explained that CBN’s directive, which was issued on February 5, 2021, only covered the banking sector. The directive prohibited banks from facilitating crypto-related transactions, according to Bitcoin.com.

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

Lamtek made the clarification during a recent meeting with journalists in the Nigerian city of Abuja. The deputy director spoke on behalf of CBN governor Godwin Emefiele

It appears that CBN’s directive targeting the banking sector might have been misinterpreted by the country’s crypto investors. After its announcement last month, trading volumes on centralized crypto exchanged dropped while volumes of peer-to-peer platforms surged.

Before Lamtek’s statement, there were also rumors saying that Nigerian authorities might be planning to clampdown on peer-to-peer trading such as Binance’s P2P platform. Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo noted that CBN’s recent clarification might in response to the growing movement opposing a complete crypto ban.

“Let’s not forget that the initial attempt only scratched the surface a bit as trading continues on the peer-to-peer platforms despite the CBN directives,” Osinbajo said. “Allowing trades to continue can’t be said to be subject to CBN’s power anymore as the financial sector has partially been decentralized.”

However, Lamtek’s statement should not be taken as the Nigerian government endorsing crypto, according to Decrypt. Danny Oyekan, CEO of the social payments app Coins App and Investment firm Dan Holdings, explained that the Central Bank has no jurisdiction over who can trade in cryptos.

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