Virtual currencies illegal in Nigeria, CBN declares

By Chika Otuchikere
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has again made its position known about the controversial virtual currency. The apex bank stated that virtual currencies are not legal tenders in Nigeria.
CBN spokesman, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, made this known on Thursday in a statement he posted on the banka��s website where he said that the bank was cautioning Nigerians on the risks involved in transacting with such currencies.
Okorafor said: a�?Further to the circular issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on January 12, 2017 to banks and other financial institutions on virtual currency operations in Nigeria, the bank wishes to reiterate that crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, Ripples, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Onecoin, etc and Exchanges such as NairaEx are not licensed or regulated by the CBN.
a�?For the avoidance of doubt, dealers and investors in any kind of crypto currency in Nigeria are not protected by law. Virtual currencies are traded in exchange platforms that are unregulated, all over the world. Consumers may therefore lose their money without any legal redress in the event these exchangers collapse or close business.
a�?Members of the public are hereby warned that virtual currencies are not legal tender in Nigeria. Accordingly, we wish to caution all and sundry on the risks inherent in such activities,a�? Okorafor said.
The CBN position is line with those taken by other regulators in the Nigerian financial sector, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The NDIC had late last year warned Nigerians on the danger involved in investing in digital currencies, saying they are not legal tenders in the country.
NDIC Director, Claims Resolution Department, Asumo Bello, said in Lagos that the protection of depositors remains the top priority of the corporation.
According to him, it is important that depositors patronise only financial institutions that are licenced by the CBN and which display the NDIC sticker with the words, a�?Insured by NDICa�?.
Similarly, SEC warned Nigerians against the risk involved in investing in digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Onecoin and Swisscoin.
The commission in a public notice said that none of the individuals or companies promoting the use of the currencies is recognised by it or any other regulatory agency in the country.

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