The Central Bank of Nigeria on Wednesday cautioned Nigerians to be wary of investments in cryptocurrencies, stating that virtual currencies were not legal tender in the country.
The apex bank said in a statement issued in Abuja that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ripples, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecoin and Onecoin, and exchanges such as NairaEx, were not licensed or regulated by it.
The statement signed by the bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, explained that dealers and investors in any kind of cryptocurrency in the country were not protected by law.
It added that since they were not protected by law, such investors might not be able to seek legal redress in the event of failure or collapse of the business.
The apex bank warned Nigerians against investing in cryptocurrencies as doing so would be at their own risk.
The bank had on January 12, 2017, issued a circular to banks and other financial institutions on virtual currency operations in Nigeria.
In the circular signed by the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Kevin Amugo, the CBN had, among other issues, noted that virtual currencies were traded on exchange platforms that were unregulated all over the world.
It noted that transactions in virtual currencies were largely untraceable and anonymous, thereby making them susceptible to abuse by criminals for money laundering and financing of terrorism.