The Central Bank of Nigeria is once again exercising its right as it sensitizes the populace on trading and investment. In a statement on Tuesday, the CBN has warned Nigerians against the use of the trending bitcoins and its equivalents. It said the trending virtual currencies, as they are collectively referred to, is the modern medium of financial transactions among terrorists and money launders because of its anonymous transaction nature.
“The attention of bank and other financial institutions is hereby drawn to the above risks and you are required to take the following actions actions pending substantive regulation or decision by the CBN,” the statement read.
“Ensure that you do not use, hold, trade and/or transact in any way in virtual currencies. Ensure that existing customers that are virtual currency exchangers have effective capital AML/CFT controls that enable them to comply with customer identification, verification and transfer, monitoring requirements.
“Where banks or other financial institutions are not satisfied with the controls put in place by the virtual currency exchanger/customers, the relationship should be discontinued immediately.
“Any suspicious transactions by these customers should immediately be reported to the Nigerian Finance Intellignece Unit (NFIU).”
The CBN reiterates that Virtual Currencies such as bitcoin, ripples, monero, litecoin, dogecion, onecoin, etc., and similarproducts are not legal tenders in Nigeria and is warning Nigerians to beware. Thus, any bank, institution or individual that transacts in such businesses does so at its own risk.
Recall that CBN also warned Nigerians against the popular ponzi scheme, MMM. MMM has been a fairy tale of adventure so far with both good and bad testimonies from participants. On January 8, MMM had announced that bitcoins will be the new modus of transaction and investment as the scheme re-opens.
“Due to the recent sharp price fluctuations of Bitcoin, MAVRO-BTC is being introduced in the system,” MMM said.
“So far, we have only had Mavro-Naira in the System. Even though you provided help via Bitcoin, your Bitcoins, anyway, were recalculated into the Nigerian Naira at the exchange rate at the moment of providing help, and you were credited with Mavro-Naira in your PO.
It should also be recalled that a popular trade and investment merchant, Warren Buffet, back in 2014 had also warned against the Virtual currency. Though his view met counter comments. Here is Warren Buffet’s view on Bitcoin, which was second on a list of his most-heeded advice for 2015 investing:
“Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically. … It’s a method of transmitting money. It’s a very effective way of transmitting money, and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transmitting money, too. Are checks worth a whole lot of money just because they can transmit money?
Are money orders? You can transmit money by money orders. People do it. I hope Bitcoin becomes a better way of doing it, but you can replicate it a bunch of different ways, and it will be. The idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is just a joke in my view.”
This view was attacked for lacking understanding of Bitcoin as he compares it to a check. According to critics, it was like comparing an email to a telegram.
Moreover, Bitcoin became the best performing currency of the year 2016. It has appreciated from four cents in 2010 to over $1,000 in 2017. But it would also be rigidly advised to stay vigilant to be safe.