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Nigeria shifts stance on crypto with new regulatory framework

TL;DR

  • The Central Bank of Nigeria has moved from a complete ban to implementing a structured regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies.
  • New regulations require cryptocurrency exchanges and digital asset brokers to use naira-denominated bank accounts exclusively.
  • The CBN’s new rules prohibit cash withdrawals from crypto-related accounts and limit other types of withdrawals to two per quarter.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has recently announced a significant shift in its stance on cryptocurrencies, moving from a complete ban to introducing a structured regulatory framework for virtual asset service providers. This development comes as an effort to keep pace with the global blockchain and digital asset trends. The CBN has outlined strict rules for financial institutions in dealing with cryptocurrencies, marking a new era of digital finance in Nigeria.

Under the new regulations, entities such as cryptocurrency exchanges and digital asset brokers must operate naira-denominated bank accounts exclusively. This move aims to integrate cryptocurrency transactions within the framework of the Nigerian banking system while also maintaining a level of control over these operations. The CBN’s directives also include a prohibition on cash withdrawals from crypto-related accounts and a bar on clearing third-party checks through these accounts. Additionally, there will be a limit on other types of withdrawals, restricting them to two per quarter.

Path to a regulated cryptocurrency environment

The decision to lift the ban on crypto transactions in December marked a significant shift in Nigeria’s approach to digital assets. This change allows banks to provide services to virtual asset operators and clears the way for cryptocurrency firms to acquire business licenses. Such a move indicates Nigeria’s intent to establish a more regulated and secure environment for cryptocurrency operations, aligning with global standards.

In a notable development, a consortium of local financial institutions and blockchain companies is spearheading the creation of Nigeria’s first regulated stablecoin, cNGN. This initiative is expected to augment the country’s digital finance landscape, including the eNaira, a central bank digital currency issued by the CBN. The introduction of cNGN will further cement Nigeria’s position in the growing digital economy.

Despite these progressive steps, the CBN is cautious, prohibiting banks from holding or trading cryptocurrencies. This decision stems from ongoing concerns over fraud and financial risks associated with digital assets. The bank’s approach reflects a careful balancing act – embracing the benefits of blockchain technology while guarding against potential pitfalls.

Nigeria’s position in the global crypto landscape

This regulatory pivot positions Nigeria as a forward-thinking player in the cryptocurrency domain, joining other African nations in acknowledging the significance of Bitcoin and other digital currencies. The move indicates a broader trend across the continent, where blockchain technology adoption is rapidly gaining momentum. Nigeria’s proactive approach in this field has earned it a high ranking on the Global Crypto Adoption Index Top 20 by Chainalysis, underscoring its role as a key player in the global digital finance.

Nigeria’s transition from a ban to regulation of cryptocurrencies signals a significant shift in its financial regulatory environment. By introducing structured guidelines for virtual asset service providers, the Central Bank of Nigeria aims to harness the potential of digital currencies while mitigating associated risks. This development not only aligns Nigeria with global financial trends but also positions it as a leader in adopting and regulating blockchain technology in Africa. As the country continues to navigate this new terrain, it sets a precedent for other nations looking to responsibly integrate cryptocurrencies into their financial systems.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Mutuma Maxwell

Maxwell especially enjoys penning pieces about blockchain and cryptocurrency. He started his venture into blogging in 2020, later focusing on the world of cryptocurrencies. His life's work is to introduce the concept of decentralization to people worldwide.

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