In Nigeria, commercial banks have started tracking accounts that appear to be used for cryptocurrency trading.
The move comes in response to an order from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) requiring all commercial banks to freeze accounts owned by at least two people trading in cryptocurrency.
According to a report from the local leadership, an internal memo at a bank instructed employees to start monitoring accounts with large transaction volumes or those allegedly used for cryptocurrency trading. The memo states, according to the administration, that:
“We would like to reiterate that CBN strictly monitors non-compliance with the directive to close all crypto-related accounts in order to impose serious regulatory sanctions. In light of the above, all employees are encouraged to identify organizations that trade or operate cryptocurrency exchanges in their systems and ensure that Close these accounts immediately.”
The document asserts that employees who deliberately fail to disclose the account’s involvement in cryptocurrency trading will be punished. All employees must now be involved in monitoring accounts, transactions and customers to ensure that the bank is fully CBN compliant in line with internal communications.
Flagged accounts include accounts of fintech companies with a high volume of daily transactions without a payment authorization, or accounts that contain cryptocurrency in their trading notes or documents.
Personal accounts with large multi-day entries and exits should also be red flagged, as well as small businesses that have more daily turnover than they should be. In addition, accounts that receive a lot of money from several recipients and make many payments to several recipients will be questionable.
In a message that went viral on social media less than a week after eNaira was launched, the CBN claimed that the accounts were being used to trade cryptocurrencies and thus violated a central bank order on February 5th.
In a tweet, Senator Ihenyen, who leads stakeholders in the Nigeria Blockchain Technology Association, criticized the CBN’s decision as illegal and unfair. Ihenyen said that only Nigeria’s legislature has the authority to oversee Bitcoin (BTC) regulation.