Cryptocurrency players tackle CBN ban on Twitter


Temiloluwa O’Peters

Some cryptocurrency players have taken to their Twitter accounts to express their reaction over the Central Bank of Nigeria’s order to shut down cryptocurrency operations.

The Central Bank on Friday ordered banks and other financial institutions to identify persons and entities operating cryptocurrency exchanges and close all such accounts.

Many experts have criticised the decision and regarded it as an attempt to impoverish Nigerians.

Reacting to the ban, Co-founder of Andela, and former managing director of Flutterwave, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, rejected the CBN directive, saying that the government could not stop African innovators.

He referred to the government as an obstacle to innovation, adding that they had made a habit of issuing policy directly attacking the tech industry and its brave innovators.

Aboyeji tweeted, “I’m sorry we don’t agree (and quite frankly we don’t need to) but I am simply not convinced that bad govt can kill the work we’ve spent the last 10 years doing in our tech industry.

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“I believe that no one – not – even bad government – can stop our African innovators. In fact, I’m betting on us to eventually innovate governance itself. As always, the obstacle is the way.”

Also, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BudgIT, Oluseun Onigbinde, said that a shutdown of cryptocurrency transactions was not a right move, saying that digital currencies were inevitable.

He advised that the government emulate the United States by using licensing, taxes and Know-Your-Customer approach instead.

“A ban is not the way. Till standards kick in, follow the US with licensing, taxes and KYC approach. Digital currencies are inevitable,” Onigbinde tweeted.

The founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, Changpeng Zhao, on Twitter agreed with a list placing Nigeria as one of the bottom five countries to start a career.

The founder in a tweet noted that the top five countries; the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, USA and Japan, all legally recognised crypto unlike the bottom five countries, including Nigeria.

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In an earlier tweet he also stated that the CBN directive would stop Nigerian banks from working with exchanges but would likely encourage peer-to-peer trading as a result.

In his own words, “It is likely that the Nigeria banks will stop working with exchanges. P2P trading will likely flourish as a result.”

In 2020, crypto marketplace, Paxful, reported that Nigeria led Africa in peer-to-peer trading in 2020.

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, also called for a revisitation of the policy prohibiting dealing and transactions in cryptocurrencies, saying that the crypto prohibition would restrict inflow of capital into Nigeria.

According to him, the nation suffered severe economic losses from the border closure and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, making it the wrong time to introduce policies that would restrict the inflow of capital into Nigeria.

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He advised that the subsector should be regulated to prevent any abuse and damage to the national security rather than an outright shutdown.

Following the CBN directive, major crypto exchanges have disabled naira deposits.

In a statement on Friday, Binance announced that it had suspended naira deposit services until further notice, adding that it was monitoring the situation closely.

“Withdrawal services remain normal and will continue to be processed but might take slightly longer time than usual,” the statement said.

Other crypto currency exchanges such as Luno, Quidax, and Buycoins took similar measures.

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