Nigeria Central Bank Fines 3 Banks Over Cryptos
By Chuks Emele
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) fined three of the country’s leading banks for crypto-currency transactions made by their customers.
Access Bank Plc will pay a fine of 500 million naira, Stanbic IBTC will pay 200 million naira while United Bank for Africa will pay 100 million naira, according to regulatory filings made to the Nigerian Exchange.
The CBN in February last year asked financial institutions in the country to desist from dealing in or facilitating trade in crypto-currencies, saying they remain illegal in Nigeria.
“Dealing in crypto-currencies or facilitating payments for crypto-currency exchanges is prohibited,” the regulator said in a circular posted on its website at the time.
Banks and financial institutions were consequently directed to identify accounts transacting in crypto-currencies and close them immediately. Reasons advanced by the regulator for its action included the high volatility of the cryptos and their susceptibility to fraud and terrorism financing.
However, many Nigerians have in recent years taken to investing in crypto currencies as a hedge against spiralling inflation and a relentless depreciation in the value of the naira. This has made Nigerians the biggest how holders of crypto-currencies apart from the United States.