Nigerians on social media are expressing their displeasure in what they perceive is an attack on their financial autonomy by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Today, a notification from the apex bank circulated on the internet, signed by the Director of Banking Supervision Bello Hassan and the Director of Payments System Management Department Musa I. Jomoh, prohibiting financial institutions in Nigeria from dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchange.
Crytocurrency, which is simply digital money, has been gaining popularity amongst Nigerians and used as exchange for goods and services. A good side to it is how it works in a decentralised format and limits unintended control, and has been adopted by tech-savvy Nigerians. As with many causes pushed on the internet, #WeWantOurCryptoBank is a response to the CBN’s crytocurrency prohibition.
This is not the first time the CBN has attempted to control financial independence. During the #ENDSARS protests of last October, the CBN froze the bank accounts of protesters who were using cash inflows from donators and supporters to sustain the movement. FeministCo was a victim, which made them make the shift to bitcoins.
In the midst of this uproar online, a Twitter user @TosinOlugbenga mentioned that the cryptocurrency ban in Nigeria is fake news, and clarified that what the CBN has restricted is the purchase of cryptocurrency with naira.
How else are Nigerians suppose to purchase and sell cryptocurrency then? Nigeria has been marked as the biggest crypto market in Africa, and for all the warnings about this new frontier in trade and links to surveillance capitalism, the government’s interference still limits payment options for the people.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies and reading comics and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.