The sanctions are part of CBN’s efforts to discourage the use of cryptocurrencies and firmly establish trade restrictions on cryptocurrency trading.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has sanctioned three commercial banks in the country for failing to follow a directive in the regulation that prohibits consumers from transacting in cryptocurrencies.

CBN sanctions

According to the latest report from Bloomberg, financial institutions were fined for violating a cryptocurrency trading restriction imposed a year ago. CBN fined Stanbic IBTC Bank, which happens to be the national unit of Standard Bank Group Ltd., 500 million naira for two accounts that were allegedly used for crypto transactions.

The filing with Nigerian Exchange Ltd alleged that the country’s largest lender, Access Bank Plc, was fined 100 million naira for failing to cancel users’ crypto accounts. United Bank for Africa (UBA) incurred a fine of 100 million naira for digital currency transactions made by a customer. Fidelity Bank Plc, the full-fledged commercial bank, on the other hand, was fined 14.3 million naira.

CEO Wole Adeniyi revealed that Stanbic IBTC followed central bank regulation, however sanctioned transactions may have passed through its system undetected. Adeniyi also said that the central bank was able to identify the relevant transactions due to “advanced capacity” that not even the country’s lenders have access to. The platform has urged the central bank to share the technology. The executive speculated:

“It doesn’t look like they’re going to consider a refund, but now they’re sharing intelligence with us so we can deter customers.”

Crypto weather in Nigeria

Nigeria is not a particularly crypto-friendly nation. But the West African country hosts the largest cryptocurrency transaction volume outside of the United States. The continent’s most populous country also accounts for the highest proportion of retail users executing transactions under $10,000, according to blockchain intelligence platform Chainalysis.

Last February, CBN had issued an order to close the accounts of holders involved in cryptocurrency trading or trading. The main bank had sent the circular to national financial establishments and warned of severe regulatory penalties if they do not comply.

Eight months after the ban, Nigeria’s financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, announced the creation of an investigative unit as part of its effort to regulate the industry.

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