Nigerian Industry Group Calls Out Public Institutions Over Unlawful Crypto Stance

The Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SiBAN), a group created in 2018 to promote blockchain adoption in Nigeria, have reached out to public institutions about the wrongful stigmatization of crypto and blockchain users in the country. 

SiBAN: Crypto Is Not Illegal in Nigeria

In a press release shared with Coinfomania, SiBAN noted that the use of cryptocurrencies is not unlawful in Nigeria, but authorities treat crypto investors like criminals.

Recall that early last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a circular to financial institutions in the country, including Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and Non-Financial Institutions (NBFIs), prohibiting them from dealing with cryptocurrencies or providing services to crypto entities.

The circular also added that customers who deal with cryptocurrency should be identified and their accounts be closed immediately. Failure on the part of any of the aforementioned institutions to comply with the directive will lead to severe regulatory sanctions.

Following the CBN’s decision which attracted negative reactions from some Nigerian senators, some public and law enforcement agencies, including the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the Nigerian Customs Service law enforcement agencies, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), the Nigerian Police, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) started discriminating and stigmatizing crypto users in the country, SiBAN said. 

The association further noted that the unfair treatment of crypto users by public agencies included arresting and detaining crypto users, blocking and closing crypto accounts, extorting, harassing, and intimidating crypto traders even though the CBN crypto directive does not ban crypto trading activities in Nigeria.

Blockchain Is Not Crypto

SiBAN also mentioned that although blockchain is the backbone of cryptocurrency, the technology has many other use cases aside from crypto. Despite this, authorities across the country continue to deny banking and financial services to individuals who are building blockchain applications or promoting the technology. 

“For the record, blockchain and cryptocurrency are not the same. If treated as the same, the CBN’s very own blockchain-powered eNaira and any other blockchain-powered product or service in the country would be affected in Nigeria’s banking and financial system as well,” SiBAN said in the release. 

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