Cryptocurrency:Ban in Nigerians interest- Emefiele

By Ignatius Okorocha

The Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) on Tuesday  said its  directive to banks to discontinue transactions on crypto currency was to protect Nigerians involved in transparent  bank transactions.

CBN’s Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele said this at an interactive session with  members of  Senate Joint  Committees on Banking, Capital Market and ICT.

Recall that, Senate had on Feb.11 at  plenary mandated its joint committees to invite the CBN Governor, and Director General of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to brief the committee on circumstances leading to ban on cryptocurrency transactions.

Addressing the lawmakers at an interactive session with stakeholders in financial institutions in the country,Emefiele in his presentation said:

“Let  me state that this decision is in the best interest of every well meaning Nigerian, who have nothing  to hide and is happy to have traceble  and transparent  dealings in our financial  system.”

He said cryptocurrency  was a currency issued  by largely unknown, unregulated elements using computer that are basically encrypted .

Consequently, he  said transactions on cryptocurrency was designed to hide information about the transactions and the operators,adding  the cruptocurrency  model  was created out of a thin air.

“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.

“The definitions  of cryptocurrency was  scary enough to scare  anxiety for any regulator or Central Banker  in any part of the world and that is the reason,  virtually all regulators in the world did not recognise it.”

He said the CBN had been studying the development and paying close attention to currencies in that space, since many Nigerians delved  into its usage .

 He said the CBN knows  that a  continuation of the transaction  significantly threatens the safety and soundness   mof  the nation’s collection system .

According to   Emefiele “CBN has  a major and primary responsibility as a primary  regulator to protect activities of  actors, bank stakeholders and uninformed actors in  the financial system from other actors who may wish  to take advantage  of their lack or limited knowledge to rip off the uninformed.

“And that is the reason we have banned all banks to desist  from operating accounts for cryptocurrency dealers in Nigeria.

“We have also asked  our banking supervision and payment system and our IT department to conduct  investigation into the activities of forex exchanges and their major players.

“The result of the investigation will led to better understanding of their activities and will be unvailed to all.”

He further explained that crypto currency has been used to facilitate scam,money laundering, and payment of ramson for kidnapping, finance for terror in different parts of the world.

“Our business is to protect,to inform and ensure that those who seek protection in a regulated environment receive the protection,”he said.

He said a significant number of  Central Banks around the world have  taken the same position like CBN.

He therefore appealed  to Nigerians to be patient with understanding as the CBN was  monitoring  the space .

This,he said was to get  a better understanding to  enable CBN  to keep protecting  depositors, facilitating loans  for the good of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Earlier, Chairman of the Joint Committee,Sen .Uba Sani, (APC Kaduna),who is  also Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking said the interactive session was a fact finding mission by the joint commitee on the position of CBN on cryptocurrency ban.

He said the senate would support any legitimate drive of Nigerians and decision designed to promote the economy.

He said the interactive session would help shield more light on the issue of cryptocurrency ban.

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