Nigeria has previously announced a ban on cryptocurrencies, but crypto trading activity is still high. Now banks have started to monitor customer accounts to identify any crypto trading activities.
The recent course of action comes shortly after the Central Bank of Nigeria demanded all commercial banks to freeze the accounts of two persons believed to engage in crypto trading activities.
Banks of Nigeria to monitor client accounts
A local publication quoted an internal memo from the bank urging employees to monitor accounts with high transaction volumes or any accounts used for crypto trading.
The quoted memo reads in part that, “we wish to reiterate that the CBN is strictly monitoring non-compliance with the directive on the closure of all accounts involved in cryptocurrency for high impact regulatory sanction. In view of the above, all staff are hereby advised to identify entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.”
The memo also stressed that employees who hide information of accounts dealing in cryptocurrency trading would be penalized. The monitoring of these accounts will allow the bank to comply with the specifications of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Some of the accounts to be monitored include those with huge inflows and outflows, those of fintech firms that deal in cryptocurrencies, small businesses that have huge accounts than normal and accounts that receive or send numerous payments from multiple people.
CBN move faced by opposition
Nigerian crypto traders have decried the latest action by the Central Bank of Nigeria to flag and freeze accounts linked to crypto trading.
One Nigerian Twitter user stated, “E-Naira died on arrival now they are attacking young people who believe in crypto.” A letter issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria recently stated that the closed accounts violated the order imposed by the regulator on February 5.
The other party that has also opposed the recent action is Senator Ihenyen, the chair of the Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria. On Twitter, the senator stated that the only body with authority to impose such restrictions on crypto was the Nigerian legislature. He termed the bank’s actions as illegal and unjust.
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