Don’t invest in bitcoin, warns Nigerian central bank
The Central Bank of Nigeria cautioned Nigerians to be wary of investments in cryptocurrency, stressing that virtual currencies are not legal tender in Nigeria, said the bank on Wednesday.
A statement issued by the bank said cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ripples, monero, litecoin, dogecoin, onecoin and exchanges such as NairaEx were not licensed or regulated by the CBN and have no place in the country. The statement, signed by the bank’s Acting Director in charge of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, emphasised that dealers and investors in any kind of cryptocurrency in Nigeria were not protected by law.
Investment in bitcoin and other virtual currencies in on the rise in many African countries. One group for whom it holds particular appeal is African millennials, wrote BBC Africa. It is not only because of the growth potential, but also because in parts of the continent – especially commercial hubs like Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg – a small but growing number of people are finding that cryptocurrencies offer a cheaper solution to an expensive problem – transferring funds across borders.
Mr. Okoroafor added that the legal implications of such arrangement is that they may be unable to seek legal redress in event of failure of the exchangers or collapse of the business. It further noted that transactions in virtual currencies were largely untraceable and anonymous thereby making them susceptible to abuse by criminals, in cases of money laundering and financing of terrorism.
CNN news report, that Africa already has its own cryptocurrency traders. Luno, founded in South Africa in 2013, has plans to become one of the leading bitcoin traders in the world. CEO and founder Marcus Swanepoel has a goal that would leave many bigger companies in the shade: 1 billion customers by 2025. “There are very few industries in the world for which you could say that is a reachable goal, but because bitcoin is so open and global, it is really an achievable goal. We’re excited to pursue it,” he said.