By Concise News Correspondents
Deposit money banks and all other financial institutions are barred from the operations of bitcoin and other forms of virtual currency.
Nigeria’s apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), conveyed the information in a circular by its Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Kevin Amugo.
Virtual currencies (VCs) – which include bitcoin, ripples, magneto, litecoin, dogecoin, peercoin, one-line – have yet to be recognised as legal tender in Nigeria.
But it is already being traded in exchange platforms that are unregulated worldwide, according to reports.
CBN gives reasons
The CBN explained that payments and exchanges using VCs are largely untraceable and anonymous.
It further stated that such transactions make customers susceptible to abuse by criminals, especially in money laundering and terrorism.
“The attention of banks and other financial institutions is hereby drawn to the above risks and you are required to take the following actions pending substantive regulation decision by the CBN.
”Ensure that you do not use, hold, trade, and/ or transact in anyway in virtual currencies; Ensure that existing customers that are virtual customers exchangers, have effective AML/CFT controls that enables them to comply with customers’ identification, verification and transaction monitoring requirements.
”Others directives include: Where banks or financial institutions are not satisfied with controls put in place by the virtual currency exchangers/customers the relationship should be discontinued immediately, and lastly, Any suspicious transactions by these customers should immediately be reported to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).”