Nigeria, Africa’s “bitcoin nation”, is moving to ban Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrencies. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a letter to the financial institutions it oversees to close accounts tied to cryptocurrency trading activities.
According to CBN’s statement, “the Bank wishes to remind regulated institutions that dealing in crypto currencies or payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.”
The central bank urges regulated financial institutions in Nigeria to “immediately” cancel their services for customers who buy, sell, or trade cryptocurrencies. It said it will enforce prohibitions of crypto trading with immediate effect.
The announcement expands on the guidelines issued by CBN in 2017 regarding virtual currencies, warning that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in the country.
India Also Moves Against Bitcoin
Crypto companies operating in the country act in response to CBN’s move to prohibit Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
Binance Nigeria, the regional arm of crypto exchange giant Binance, has temporarily suspended deposits in the country’s local fiat currency, Nigerian naira.
Sub-Saharan Africa is currently home to the second-largest peer-to-peer Bitcoin transaction volume in the world behind North America, according to data from Paxful. Additionally, Nigeria is Africa’s biggest cryptocurrency market, in terms of trading volumes on peer-to-peer crypto exchanges Paxful and LocalBitcoins.
Nigeria is not the only government looking into ways to regulate cryptocurrencies.
India plans to introduce a law to ban cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, and put in place a framework for an official digital currency to be issued by the central bank, according to a legislative agenda listed by the government.