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Crypto is not illegal in Nigeria – EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday, the 17th of August, 2022 said cryptocurrencies are not illegal in Nigeria. 

In a Twitter space organized by the anti-graft agency on the subject of illegality in cryptocurrency, the commission shared its position on the matter.

The Commission according to the act establishing it is empowered to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalize economic and financial crimes. The agency is also responsible for enforcing the provisions of other laws and regulations relating to economic and financial crimes such as money laundering, advance fee fraud, etc.

Reacting to the statement by the EFCC, a participant of the session shared his thoughts.

Recall in Q1, 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a circular to financial institutions in the country prohibiting them from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions and ordered the investigation and closure of accounts involved in cryptocurrency trading.

The Central Bank Governor described cryptocurrency as opaque and money from thin air. He also said cryptocurrencies are used for illegal activities. 

A report by BBC showed the amount of money laundered through cryptocurrencies in 2021 was $8.6 billion. And this represents an increase of 30% over the previous year but the cryptocurrency market peaked at $3 trillion in the year 2021.

In October 2021, a Federal High Court ruled on the legality of the Central Bank’s position and enforcement. According to the judgment, the CBN’s action was illegal and it cannot rely on a circular to freeze the bank accounts of entities.

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