Following the nationwide ban on Crypto transactions by the Nigerian government in February 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria have placed a fine on three top Nigerian commercial banks for going against the country’s Cryptocurrency transaction restrictions.
According to TechCabal, Access Bank, Stanbic IBTC and United Bank of Africa (UBA) have all been fined a total of approximately $1.9 million (800 million Naira) for not taking strict actions to restrict accounts that participate in Crypto transactions.
Access Bank was fined a total of ₦500 million for not closing customers’ cryptocurrency accounts with the restrictions still in play. Stanbic IBTC was fined ₦200 million and although the bank’s chief, Wole Adeniyi, claims the institution heeded the order, he acknowledged the fact that two accounts alleged to have been used for crypto transactions were true but the mistake was out of negligence and not going against the order. United Bank for Africa (UBA) was not excluded and was fined ₦100 million for digital currency transactions by a customer.
Last year, the Nigerian government through the Central Bank of Nigeria put up a law restricting all Nigerian commercial banks from allowing bank accounts to be used for any form of cryptocurrency operation as the country is on a path to more financial safety, following the footsteps of countries like China which frowns upon Cryptocurrency transactions. The government placed this embargo on the basis of curbing the usage of cryptocurrency for illegal transactions due to its high degree of anonymity.
This decision by the government was received with huge criticism from the Nigerian tech space, especially the youths because although Cryptocurrency is not totally banned in Nigeria, it has become harder to buy or sell using the country’s commercial banks.