Godwin Emefiele has reiterated the position of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that cryptocurrency currently has no place in Nigeria’s monetary system.
The apex bank earlier in February directed Deposit Money Banks and other financial institutions to close accounts of people using their systems for cryptocurrency trading.
Nigerian senators a week later invited the Emefiele to explain the reasons for the ban and Nigeria’s future plan for virtual assets.
While appearing before a Joint Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions; ICT and Cybercrime; and Capital Market on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, the CBN governor said the ban will protect Nigerians.
He noted that the issuance of cryptocurrencies by unregulated and unlicensed entities is contrary to the mandate of the CBN.
The 59-year-old said Nigerians who have nothing to hide should not be worried by the ban which he said is an elimination of possible shady dealings.
“Cryptocurrency is used to describe the activities of traders in an electronic dark world where transactions are extremely opaque, not visible and not transparent.
“These are people who deal in transactions that do not want to be trailed,” he said.
Emefiele further stressed to the committee that the CBN’s primary duty as a regulator is to protect the activities of actors, bank stakeholders, and uninformed actors in the financial system from other actors who may wish to take advantage of them.
He cautioned that cryptocurrency has been used to facilitate money laundering, payment of ransom for kidnapping, and finance terrorism in different parts of the world.
The CBN boss also revealed that the bank is conducting an investigation into the activities of forex exchanges and their major players.
“The result of the investigation will lead to better understanding of their activities and will be unveiled to all,” he said.
The CBN’s ban on cryptocurrency trading has been met with widespread outrage, especially from young Nigerians who have capitalised on its gains.
During a deliberation on the issue two weeks ago, numerous senators said the CBN should be more interested in regulating the medium of exchange.