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CBN Orders Lifting of Account Restrictions on Crypto Exchange and Fintech Companies



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed banks to lift  the post-no-debit restriction placed on the accounts of over 400 individuals and companies, including cryptocurrency exchange Yellow Card Financial and fintech firm Rise Vest Technologies Limited. 

According to a circular dated July 25, 2023, signed by the Director of Banking Supervision, A.M. Barau, the accounts of these entities will be unfrozen and granted full access by their respective banks.

One of the reasons behind the bank restriction issued on crypto-related  accounts as far back as August 2021 by Governor Godwin Emiefele was the #EndSARS protest.

The government was not in support of Nigerian bank accounts meddling with crypto as it gave access to funding for the protest that sought to end the assault of security outfit, SARs, on young Nigerians.

In addition to Yellow Card Financial and Rise Vest Technologies Limited, the listed companies include Bamboo Systems Technology Limited, Trove Technologies Limited, Chaka Technologies Limited, Nairabet International, and Odis Global Links Limited, among others.

The directive comes almost two years after the CBN obtained an order from the Federal High Court to freeze the accounts of cryptocurrency and fintech companies, as well as Bureau De Change operators. 

The investigation was initiated in August 2021 to probe alleged serious infractions involving foreign exchange activities and non-documentation by the defendants, which were said to violate the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act and the Central Bank of Nigeria foreign exchange manual.

However, the recent circular did not provide specific reasons for lifting the account restrictions. The CBN simply ordered banks to remove the post-no-debit restriction and promptly inform the concerned customers of the development.

The move has been met with relief among the affected companies, as they can now resume normal business operations without the financial constraints imposed by the account freeze.

Cryptocurrency and fintech companies have been gaining popularity in Nigeria and have seen increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies. 

The lifting of the account restrictions is expected to restore confidence and encourage innovation in the country’s rapidly growing financial technology sector.

As the financial landscape continues to evolve, stakeholders are closely watching how the regulatory environment may adapt to new technologies and business models. 

The CBN’s recent decision to unfreeze the accounts marks a notable development in the relationship between the traditional financial system and the emerging cryptocurrency and fintech industries in Nigeria.

Read also; Central Bank of Nigeria Upgrades eNaira with NFC Technology

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