Over 33m Nigerians Trade Crypto Despite CBN Ban

Over 33m Nigerians Trade Crypto Despite CBN Ban

About 33.4 million Nigerians traded or own crypto assets in spite of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) ban.

Last year (2021), the CBN affirmed a 2017 directive to financial institutions to block accounts that trade or transact in crypto.

According to the apex bank, crypto had become a conduit pipe for money laundering, and terrorism financing, among other criminal acts in the country.

A statement signed by Osita Nwanisobi, Acting Director, Corporate Communications of CBN, read: “The use of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria are a direct contravention of existing law.

“It is also important to highlight that there is a critical difference between a Central Bank issued Digital Currency and cryptocurrencies. As the names imply, while Central Banks can issue Digital Currencies, cryptocurrencies are issued by unknown and unregulated entities.

“The question that one may need to ask therefore is, why any entity would disguise its transactions if they were legal.

“It is on the basis of this opacity that cryptocurrencies have become well-suited for conducting many illegal activities including money laundering, terrorism financing, purchase of small arms and light weapons, and tax evasion.

“Many banks and investors who place a high value on reputation have been turned off from cryptocurrencies because of the damaging effects of the widespread use of cryptocurrencies for illegal activities.

“The role of cryptocurrencies in the purchase of hard and illegal drugs on the darknet website called ‘Silk Road’ is well known. They have also been recent reports that cryptocurrencies have been used to finance terror plots, further damaging its image as a legitimate means of exchange.

“More also, repeated and recent evidence now suggests that some cryptocurrencies have become more widely used as speculative assets rather than as means of payment, thus explaining the significant volatility and variability in their prices.”

However, in its report, ‘Into The Cryptoverse: Decoding The World Of Crypto Consumers,’ KuCoin, a crypto exchange with over 10 million registered users, disclosed that the crypto population is largely dominated by 18 to 60-year-olds.

The report read: “According to Google Trends, Nigeria was recorded as the country with the highest number of bitcoin searches globally in early 2021, signaling the growing utility of cryptocurrency in the country.

“The data also pointed out that the country’s youth have been the decisive force behind the surge in bitcoin searches. According to our survey conducted in early 2022, 33.4 million Nigerians, which accounts for 35% of the population aged 18 to 60, currently own or have traded cryptocurrencies over the past six months.

“70% of these crypto investors claim that they will likely increase their cryptocurrency assets soon. Another 6% of the country’s population are interested in investing in cryptocurrency in the coming 6 months, suggesting that the cryptocurrency adoption rate might continue to increase.”

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