The Central Bank of Nigeria has warned commercial banks and all non-banking financial institutions to desist from dealing in cryptocurrencies and other related transactions.

The country’s apex bank further ordered banks to close all the accounts of customers transacting and dealing in Bitcoin immediately.

The information was contained in a statement released by the CBN on Friday.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) 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 (OFIs) and members of the public on the risk associated with transactions in cryptocurrency refers,” CBN said.

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

“Accordingly, all DMBs, NBFIs and OFIs 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.”

The bank also warned that it would punish offenders that violate the information.

“Please note that breaches of this directive will attract severe regulatory sanctions.

“This letter is with immediate effect,” it said.

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