By Nosa Akenzua
The Central Bank of Nigeria, last Friday, prohibited financial institutions in Nigeria from dealing with cryptocurrencies and also directed persons and entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency to close shop immediately, stating that any breach of the directive would attract severe sanctions.
This directive has attracted widespread condemnation from Delta state residents most of whom think the government should not have interfered with their bitcoin business, risks and all.
Cryptocurrency is digital money. This means that there is no physical coin or bill. It is all online. bitcoin and ether are well known cryptocurrencies.
Recent statistics obtained from Usefultulips, a cryptocurrency analytic data provider, stated that Nigeria leads Africa peer to peer lending in 2020, posting weekly P2P volumes of between $8 million, followed by South Africa and Kenya posting about $2 million weekly.
With the ban, our correspondent spoke to some residents in Delta state.
A bitcoin trader, who pleaded anonymity said the Central Bank of Nigeria should regulate the system instead of outright ban, insisting that there was no business without risk.
“If people are willing to do deals with their money and bear the risk, they should be allowed to do so,” he said.
Another young man who did not want his name mentioned, said, “Cryptocurrency is not real; it is not tangible like gold or other precious metals but it is acceptable in many countries in the world.
He said he does not deal in cryptocurrency but people believe in it and earn their living from it, advising also that government should find a way of regulating it like, other financial institutions.
However, according to Mr Onome Kelvin, a banker who trades in cryptocurrency, people do not understand the dynamics involved in mining the coins.
He said the trade could lead to a crash of the system and threw his weight behind the CBN’s decision on the ban, adding that most of the accounts were anonymous and, therefore, could not be tracked when used for fraudulent activities. He alleged that it could also be used to fund terrorism.
According to him, the currency had no regulatory body, locally or internationally, for its activities in a way that could protect consumers.