By Elohor Foghola
The Central Bank of Nigeria, in a letter dated February 5, 2021, prohibited financial institutions in Nigeria from dealing with cryptocurrencies and also directed persons and entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency to close immediately, stating that any breach of the directive will attract severe sanctions.
Cryptocurrency is digital money. This means that there is no physical coin or bill. It is all online. Bitcoin and Ether are well known cryptocurrencies.
Recent statistics obtained from Usefultulips, a cryptocurrency analytic data provider, stated that Nigeria leads Africa peer to peer lending in 2020, posting weekly P2P volumes of between $8 million, followed by South Africa and Kenya posting about $2 million weekly.
With the recent ban on cryptocurrency by Central Bank of Nigeria, our correspondent spoke to some individuals on the ban.
A Bitcoin trader, who pleaded anonymity, said the Central Bank of Nigeria should regulate the system instead of outright ban, insisting that there was no business without risk.
“If people are willing to do deals with their money and bear the risk, they should be allowed to do so,” he said.
Another young man who did not want his name mentioned, said, “Cyptocurrency is not real; it is not tangible like gold or other precious metals but it is acceptable in many countries in the world.
He said he does not deal in cryptocurrency but people believe in it and earn their living from it, advising also that government should find a way of regulating it like other financial institutions.
However, according to Mr. Onome Kelvin, a banker, people who trade on cryptocurrency do not understand the dynamics involved in mining the coins.
While saying that the trade could lead to crash of the system, he threw his weight behind CBN’s decision on the ban, adding that most of the accounts are anonymous and therefore could not be traced when used for fraudulent activities, alleging that it could be used to fund terrorism.
According to him, cryptocurrency had no regulatory body locally or internationally of its activities that could secure an appropriate protection of consumers.