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Zenith Bank, others go after crypto account holders, as bitcoin’s all time high triggers $30bn loss



LONG READ... CBN CRYPTOCURRENCY BAN: What is the noise about?

The bitcoin community is facing an epic battle to save their investment as Nigerian banks such as Zenith Bank, are shutting down accounts believed to be linked to cryptocurrency.

Ripples Nigeria understands that Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) and Kuda, a Fintech startup, are also reportedly aligning in support of the industry’s regulator, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its bid to get rid of cryptocurrency trading in Nigeria.

Recall that the financial regulator had directed banks to severe ties with crypto exchanges on February 5, 2021, and ten months later, traders of bitcoin and other stablecoins are losing their accounts.

In a series of letters seen by Ripples Nigeria, and circulated to individuals who received large amount into their accounts in a space of few days or involved in outflow of huge sum, they were asked to submit documents backing the transactions.

Zenith Bank in its letter, told a customer, whose account was closed due to cryptocurrency trading, “The decision to close the account is due to CBN regulation/circular of January 12, 2017, February 5, 2021, which prohibits institutions and individual accounts dealing in cryptocurrency and facilitating payment for cryptocurrency exchanges.”

On its part a Kuda representative told Ripples Nigeria that, “Kuda is a microfinance bank, and we don’t [deal] in crypto-related businesses.” adding that the Fintech firm doesn’t just block an account, there has to be a cogent reason.

Also, Kuda had written to an account holder who received 50 transactions within two days, to “Please explain the source and purpose of these inflow.”

Read also: How Nigerian banks are surviving CBN’s ATM withdrawal policy; Zenith Bank’s Onyeagwu, Stanbic IBTC’s Adeniyi disagree

While explaining reasons Kuda sought clarification on large inflow, the rep stated that for every transaction above N5 million, the account holder is mandated to supply some information to back it.

Bitcoin surge triggers $30 billion loss

The clampdown on cryptocurrency traders comes at a period the most popular digital coin, bitcoin, surpassed it’s all time high of $66,975, to set another record of $68,990.90.

This is a difference of 3.0 percent, as it added $2,015.9 to its cost per coin late Wednesday, however, the upward trend was down early hours of Thursday, losing $1,697.52 of what it added the previous day, as it depreciated by 2.55 percent.

Bitcoin currently trades at $64,840.02 as at the time of filing this report, with $1.22 trillion market cap, against the $1.25 trillion it post three days ago.

The hike in value led to a trade-off among profit-takers, resulting to bitcoin holders losing about $30 billion from their community’s total investment.

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