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Crypto firms practise high-level illegality, alleges Emefiele

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeira, Godwin Emefiele, has again expressed the apex bank’s disapproval for cryptocurrency transactions in Nigeria, saying the space and its operators are “embedded in illegality.”

Emefiele spoke barely two weeks after the regulator directed banks to close the accounts of cruptocurrency dealers.

Commercial banks also closed the bank account of some illegal foreign exchange dealers.

The CBN had in February ordered banks not to support payment transactions of crypto firms.

Speaking on Tuesday during an interview with Arise TV, the CBN governor said that Nigeria’s banking space had no room for cryptocurrency.

He noted that the assumption that the new directive was malicious and linked to his personal reservations about the #EndSARS movement which was reportedly financed partially with cryptocurrencies was wrong.

He said, “Like you said, the #EndSARS issue came up in October 2020 and we came up with the issue of saying that we would not make our banking and payment system space available to those who were involved in cryptocurrency business because we feel that a substantial portion of the transactions going on there are illegal.

“Look at it this way: what is there to hide? Why are the transactions so hidden? Why are they encrypted? If I conduct a transaction and a regulator or security authority wants to see the nature of the transaction, those (transactions) can’t be encrypted for people to know what happened.  It means that cryptocurrency is a product that is embedded in high level of illegality.

“ENDSARS has nothing to do with it. It so happened that some people used their cryptocurrency to fund it but it has nothing to do with it (CBN’s stance).

“In fact, I have not seen more than one or two countries that have supported cryptocurrencies. You will not find developed economies or economies where high level of payment standards is put in place where the government is serious about tackling money laundering; you won’t find central banks in those climes supporting cryptocurrency.

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