IN June 2021 a post which alleged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has authorised the use of cryptocurrency “like the naira in Nigeria” was circulated online.
The uncredited post which was shared multiple times on WhatsApp noted that the apex bank has concluded plans to introduce cryptocurrency before the end of 2021.
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That the CBN has authorised the use of cryptocurrency as a legal tender like Naira in the country.
The CBN’s acting Director of Corporate Communications Osita Nwanisobi told the FactCheckHub that it is false.
He said, “Nobody authorised anything of such”.
Nwanisobi, however, noted that plans are underway by the apex bank to unveil its digital currency before the end of 2021.
Earlier, on June 11, at the end of the 306th Bankers’ Committee meeting, the CBN’s Director of Information Technology Department Rakiya Mohammed had announced plans by the bank to unveil a digital currency, the Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).
The CBDC is fundamentally different from cryptocurrency in that it is a centralised and controlled currency.
The cryptocurrency which CBN described as “digital or virtual currencies issued by largely anonymous entities and secured by cryptography” is decentralised. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Coin are some examples of crypto.
CBDCs are digital currencies issued and governed by a country’s central bank, it is centralised and does not have the anonymity of cryptocurrency, as such they are not the same.
CBN’s view on cryptocurrency
The Nigerian government had restricted cryptocurrency transactions in the country.
On February 5, 2021, the CBN initiated policies discouraging Nigerians from transacting using the digital platform.
Two days after, on February 7, the bank justified further why Nigerians should be mindful of the digital currency, stressing that they are unregulated and unlicensed. They are also not recognised as legal tender in the country.
The claim that the CBN has authorised the use of cryptocurrency as a legal tender in the country is FALSE.