Crypto-Currency: CBN Ban Hits Hard On Speculators As Income Source Crumbles

Speculators affected by the recent Central Bank of Nigeria clampdown on crypto-currency accounts held in banks have lamented that the ban is already affecting their livelihood.

The CBN had earlier this month ordered banks to close accounts linked to crypto-currency related transactions saying the currency is used to facilitate illicit transaction.

The apex bank had insisted that it is the only legal institution in the country that has the right to float a legal tender.

The Securities and Exchange Commission had last year issued a framework on crypto-currency regulation in the country. But on Thursday last week, it made a U-turn and backed the apex bank decision on cryptos.

SEC had said that the CBN ban was consistent with its regulation as both parties were finding ways of securing investors and protecting the financial ecosystem of the country.

Nigeria is not the only country that had clamped down on crypto, as the European Union Central Bank last month accused Bitcoin of aiding money laundering and called for global regulation of crypto-currencies.

Also, the US Securities and Exchange Commission had in January warned investors against “too-good-to-be-true opportunities” in the crypto-currency space.

Hester Peirce, a commissioner at US SEC last week called for a clear crypto-currency regulatory regime, following the influx of major companies like Tesla Inc, BNY Mellon Corp and Mastercard Inc to embrace crypto currency.

Some of them who spoke with THE WHISTLER decried that the ban was a huge setback on their income and may resort to trimming down their budget.

Ibekwe Chinwere, a new recruit into the business told THE WHISTLER that the restriction by CBN has started impacting negatively on her income.

She said, “I have traded for four months and I have been able to cash out. I registered with N50, 000 for a start and the way they do it is once you register, at the end of every 15 days, they will pay you up to 40 per cent of what you registered with. From September till now I have been paid about N120, 000.

“It really went a long way to help me, because unemployment problem has really affected me. I graduated since 2005 up till now, nothing serious. With the introduction of this, when I started it, I discovered that most times, I wouldn’t bother or stress myself much to start thinking of how to get money. With the help of this crypto-currency I was able to sort out some things without looking for any assistance from anybody.

“I feel very bad about the recent ban, because by right I was supposed to receive alert and up till now it has not showed up.”

She said the new policy of the CBN would affect his family negatively as his husband also trades on the currency.

She added, “The restriction will affect me seriously because my husband is also into it. He invested N250, 000 and he has been paid like twice and expecting the third payment this week. This has been helping us as a family to cater for our needs.

“It is because there is no employment that is why many youths are into it. I am pleading with the CBN for the sake of the unemployed and under employed to help ease the ban. If they don’t do it, it will increase social crime.”
Afioma, a Teacher at Albert Obiefuna Secondary School, Iyiowa Odekpe, Ogbaru L.G.A Anambra State said he may leave the country to neighbouring countries that allow dealings in crypto currency.

He said, “I have been into crypto-currency business for two months and I have invested around N300,000. I have benefited already from my investment.

“I got interested in the business because I have been under employed since 2007 that I graduated. Currently am thinking of relocating to another country so that I can continue with my business. It is better I relocate than to stay here and be wallowing in poverty and hunger.

“I have a family to maintain so, the best option for me is to relocate to the neighbouring African countries by any means and continue earning my money. I have a family of four and we are expecting a baby.

“The Central Bank knows the best policy that will benefit them, but this policy does not favour the citizens. Nigerians will find it hard especially the youths are into it.”

Godwin Ede, crypto-currency dealer said he withdrew his entire trading fund when the news broke. According to him, his income has reduced drastically due to the ban.

Ede said, “The ban of crypto-currency in Nigeria has affected my business in such a way that business is no more moving like before, it reduced the way I operate, and now left me with an option, peer to peer trading.

“The money I generate when the ban was not yet declared is no more the kind of income that comes in, so for this reason, my spending had reduced.

“I never allowed it to get to that level, the moment it came to my notice that federal government has issued such policy, immediately I withdrew all the trading fund. So it has no effect on my client because I will return their fund pending the time all will be settled.