• 30 May, 2024
News

Central Bank of Nigeria Denies Directive to Freeze Crypto-Related Bank Accounts

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) refuted claims circulated by crypto media outlets that it mandated banks to freeze accounts associated with unlicensed cryptocurrency exchanges. The alleged directive instructed banks to identify and put a “Post No Debit (PND)” instruction on accounts engaged in transactions with unlicensed crypto exchanges for six months. PND would prohibit account holders from making debit transactions, essentially freezing their funds.

News reports claimed that Bybit, KuCoin, OKX, and Binance were among the platforms identified by the alleged directive. However, the CBN, in an official post on the social media platform X, refuted these reports, stating it had not issued any such directive. The central bank urged the public to rely on its official website for accurate information and warned against spreading false news.

The original news articles suggested that the CBN was targeting individuals using peer-to-peer (P2P) methods to buy and sell Tether (USDT) on these platforms illegally. However, CBN’s rejection of these claims indicates that the reports were misleading.

Despite the CBN’s denial, the Nigerian crypto landscape remains complex. The central bank has a history of regulating cryptocurrency, with an initial comprehensive ban on banks engaging with digital currencies in 2021. This ban was lifted in December 2023, allowing banks to facilitate transactions for crypto exchanges. However, the government’s ongoing efforts to stabilize the foreign exchange market and curb illicit financial activities have led to continued scrutiny of crypto-related transactions.

The CBN’s rejection of these allegations comes at a time when Nigeria’s economy is dealing with a swift devaluation of the naira and an inflation rate of 29.9%. Reports suggest that the government is closely monitoring platforms offering cryptocurrency services, with Binance among those under increased scrutiny. The central bank raised concerns over suspicious financial transactions linked to Binance Nigeria, claiming that $26 billion passed through the country via the platform in 2023 from unidentified sources and users.

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