The Central Bank of Nigeria has ordered all banks to close accounts of anyone who transacts in cryptocurrency.

The order was contained in a circular to banks and other financial institutions, signed on Friday by the Director of Banking Supervision, Bello Hassan, and it is expected to take effect immediately.

According to the CBN, dealing in cryptocurrency or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria circular of January 12, 2017, ref FPR/DIR/GEN/CIR/06/010 which cautioned Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs), other Financial Institutions and members of the public on the risk associated with transactions in cryptocurrency refers,” the statement said.

“Further to earlier regulatory directions on the subject, the bank hereby wishes to remind regulated institutions dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.

“Accordingly, all DMB’s NBFI’s or OFI’s are directed to identify persons and/or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.

“Please, note that breaches of this directive will attract severe regulatory sanctions. This letter is with immediate effect”.

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