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Nigeria Imposes Strict Banking Guidelines After Relaxing Crypto Ban

Nigeria Imposes Strict Banking Guidelines After Relaxing Crypto Ban

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The Nigerian Central Bank (CBN) published strict guidelines for banks and financial institutions opening crypto accounts. The guidelines came after the CBN lifted the ban on banks’ operating accounts for virtual asset service providers (VASPs). 

Nigeria’s apex bank published bank guidelines after it announced last week that it lifted the prohibition on banks managing accounts for crypto providers. 

VASP Regulation Urgently Required

According to a report by Bloomberg, the CBN published the “Guidelines on Operations of Bank Accounts for Virtual Asset Service Providers” on its website on Tuesday. The guidelines underscore the bank’s decision last month to lift the ban on banks operating accounts for VASPs. 

On December 22, the CBN published a circular announcing relaxed crypto rules. The bank issued stringent restrictions in 2021, ordering “deposit-taking” financial institutions to close accounts transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges. The decision was spurred by risks of money laundering and terrorism financing inherent to the industry and a lack of regulation and consumer protection measures. 

In its circular, the CBN, however, recognised a need to revise its 2021 policy, stating:

“However current trends globally have shown that there is need to regulate the activities of virtual assets service providers (VASPs), which include cryptocurrencies and crypto assets.” 

No Cash Withdrawals Allowed

Nigeria is one of the leading countries in crypto adoption, which has encouraged its central bank to address the rising presence of virtual assets. According to the newly published guidelines, only naira-based accounts will be permitted, and cash withdrawals are prohibited. The guidelines further bar clearing third-party cheques through crypto accounts and limit withdrawals to two (2) per quarter. 

The guidelines read:

“No cash withdrawal shall be allowed from the account. No third-party cheque shall be cleared from the account. Except for settlement of a virtual/digital assets transaction which shall be done through a transfer to another designated account, the withdrawal shall be only through a Managers’ cheque or transfer to an account.” 

The bank also detailed how to open bank accounts and listed the required documents.

“From the commencement of these Regulations, financial institutions shall not open or permit the operation of any account by any person or entity to conduct the business of virtual/digital assets unless that account is designated for that purpose and opened in line with the requirement of these Guidelines.” 


“The designated account shall only be opened with the approval of senior management of the FI.” 

The CBN maintains its ban on financial institutions holding, trading, or conducting crypto transactions using their own accounts.  

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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