On February 5, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released a circular addressed to banks and other financial institutions with the directive that transactions in cryptocurrencies and facilitating payment for cryptocurrency exchanges were prohibited.
The CBN further instructed all banks and other financial institutions to identify individuals or entities that transact in cryptocurrency or operate cryptocurrency exchanges and close their accounts.
That CBN letter elicited varied reactions from the Nigerian public with many expressing concern about the potential negative effect it could have on the country’s growing cryptocurrency market and innovation in financial technology.
Some stakeholders supported the ban while others questioned the goals of the policy, which they saw as stifling the livelihood of young Nigerians using cryptocurrencies to escape poverty and unemployment.
The memo, however, created interest in some Nigerians who were hitherto unaware of the existence or workings of cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrency is described as a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange where individual coin ownership records are stored in a ledger existing in a form of computerised database.
It usually does not exist in physical form like paper money and is not issued by a central monetary authority. It uses decentralised control as opposed to centralised digital and central banking systems.
The first decentralised cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was…