The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN has sent a directive to all banks, ordering them to shut down accounts of cryptocurrency users.
The CBN made a reference to an earlier warning issued in January 2017 on the ‘risk associated with transactions in cryptocurrency.’
According to the letter signed by the Director of Banking Supervision Bello Hassan ‘ the bank (CBN) hereby wishes to remind regulated institutions that dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.’
The letter went further to direct all banks to ‘identify persons and/or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.’
Nigerians have taken to Twitter to react to the shocking news. One Mark Amaza commented that this directive could be linked to the recent #EndSars protest against police brutality led by the youths of the country.
He said, “It just occurred to me that there might be a connection between the new CBN policy on crypto and the #EndSARS protests.”
It could be recalled that the CBN shut-down the accounts of so-called leaders of the protests while other banks rejected transactions related to the #EndSars protest. The Nigerian government believed the protest was against the ruling government and not necessarily against police brutality.
When this happened, protesters quickly switched to cryptocurrency to receive donations. CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey supported this move by asking his followers to donate in BTC. “Donate via #Bitcoin to help #EndSARS,” he tweeted.
A group of feminists, Feminist Coalition who managed the donation accounted for 9.9 BTC which was worth $126,720 and #77.19 million at that time when Bitcoin was trading at $12,88781.
It is not yet confirmed if the directive is tied to the #EndSars protest.