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CRYPTOCURRENCY

CBN instruct banks to close accounts related to Crypto

The apex bank has warned Nigerian banks against having any transactions in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for crypto exchanges.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has notified Deposit Money Banks, Non-Financial Institutions, other financial institutions against doing business in Crypto and other digital assets.

In a circular dated 5th February 2021 and distributed to regulated financial firms, the apex bank of Africa’s largest economy warned and reminded local financial institutions against having any transactions in crypto or facilitating payments for crypto exchanges.

In addition, the apex bank instructed the financial institutions to immediately close the accounts of such persons or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges.

The Apex bank further warned the Nigerian Financial Stakeholders that any breach of this directive will attract serious regulatory sanctions.

See excerpt

“The Central of Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) circular of January 12, 2017 ref FPR1DIR/GEN/C1R106/010 which cautioned Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs), Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) and members of the pubic on the risk associated with transactions in cryptocurrency refers.”

“Further to earlier regulatory directives on the subject, the Bank hereby wishes to remind regulated institutions that dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.”

“Accordingly, all DMBs, NBFIs and OFIs are directed to identify persons and/or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.”

“Please note that breaches of this directive will attract severe regulatory sanctions. This letter is with immediate effect.”

Not the first time

In 2018, Our source reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria had issued a statement reiterating that cryptocurrencies are not a legal tender and as such are illegal.

In a circular dated February 28th, 2018, and published on its website, the apex bank reiterated that “cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ripples, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Onecoin, etc and Exchanges such as NairaEx are not licensed or regulated by the CBN.”

This was the strongest against cryptocurrencies made by the CBN at the time. It also coincided with a bullish run for cryptocurrencies especially when bitcoins rallied to an all-time high of $17,000 at the time.

That same year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) were all directed by the Senate to enlighten Nigerians on the risks involved in trading with Bitcoins, but this report shows the enlightenment campaign has done little or nothing to dissuade Nigerians.

Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies have rallied since late last year as investors flock to alternative assets in pursuit of sharp gains.

Can the CBN actually stop trading?

The central bank has control over the banking sector and by a large extent can use its powers to determine how banks allow customers to use their bank accounts for transactions.

  • While cryptocurrencies are a digital form of currency it still relies heavily on the regular currencies for everything from pricing its value to how its ownership is being determined.
  • To buy cryptocurrencies, you can either pay with a cryptocurrency or pay in dollars using your bank account.
  • Thus, Nigerians looking to trade in cryptocurrency will now have to seek other means outside of the banking sector, assuming Nigerian banks strictly implement the new directives.

There is also the suspicion that this could be tied to the CBN’s foreign currency controls.

How Banks will stop it

  • Banks can use the KYC information of their customers to determine which of them are used for cryptocurrency-related transactions. Once this is determined, they can block the accounts or restrict anyone from depositing money into the accounts.
  • In fact, they can place a no-debit on the account, meaning that when you transfer money to a cryptocurrency trading platform, the money could be stuck as they won’t be able to access it.
  • This process is very easy now that banks have BVN of their customers and can easily determine how funds are being utilized.
  • Ironically this is the very reason why cryptocurrencies exist in the first place, to stop any regulator, third party from getting in between transfers from one person to another.

What this means

The recent directive of the CBN will have clear negative consequences for the international crypto community, taking into consideration Nigeria (Africa’s largest economy and home to over 200 million people, mostly young), has the highest interest in Bitcoin globally.

  • According to a recent report released by Google, Nigeria emerged the first amongst other countries around the world in Bitcoin searches on Google.
  • If this policy is strictly implemented it will snuff out millions in demand from crypto hungry young Nigerians, taking out a major source of investments for many.
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CRYPTOCURRENCY

No retreat no surrender, Ethereum explodes

Ethereum was trading at $1,532.05 on the FTX exchange with a 24 daily trading volume of $26.6 Billion.

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Ethereum has been on a record buying spree amid its most recent price correction as institutional investors buy more at its dips.

At the time of drafting this report, Ethereum was trading at $1,532.05 on the FTX exchange with a 24 daily trading volume of $26.6 Billion. Ethereum is up 11.54% for the day.

Ether is the crypto asset that powers the Ethereum network. Crypto developers build apps on the Ethereum network, as it offers a unique type of decentralized software platform, which is different from the flagship crypto, which is designed to just be a currency or store of value.

Prakash Chand, Managing Director at FD7 Ventures also revealed also believes Ethereum would do far better than Bitcoin in the coming years;

“I’ve been lucky enough to spend lots of time with the brightest minds in crypto and I’m willing to bet that each of Ethereum, Cardano, and Polkadot will be more valuable than Bitcoin within the next few years,” he said.

That being said there has never been so much sustained activity of addresses interacting with Ethereum.

The 3-month average of aa’s has broken over its previous all-time high and it doesn’t look like it wants to go back!

In addition, Ethereum (ETH) miners seem to have an edge now over their arch-rivals, as they have surpassed Bitcoin (BTC) miners on transaction fees charged for some months now.

Crypto market data aggregator, Messari revealed key metrics showing that it is the longest period for which Ethereum’s transaction fee revenue has surpassed BTC in the crypto asset’s history.

This prevailing macro is positive for Ether miners whose turnovers have been increased by higher fees and more transactions. In fact, Ethereum’s network hash rate has been growing consistently, having reached a near two-year high.

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CRYPTOCURRENCY

Demand for Bitcoin is growing high amid tightened supply

The amount of illiquid Bitcoin supply in the network has grown more than the circulating supply since 2017.

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Crypto experts argue that such strong demand in the Bitcoin market is largely attributed to the fact institutions are coming.

The market liquidity is tightening at the flagship Crypto market, as there are less than 4 million BTCs in circulation available for upcoming investors including the likes of  Grayscale, Paypal, Microstrategy, hedge funds, and so on.

Only 21 million Bitcoins are ever going to be produced in total, and presently, there is about 18.9 million Bitcoin in circulation.

This shows a differential of about 2.1 million Bitcoin that are left to be produced, not forgetting about 4.5 million Bitcoins that have already been lost forever.

This also means that liquidity is drying up, as demand for the world’s most popular crypto hits record highs

The amount of illiquid Bitcoin supply in the network has grown more than the circulating supply since 2017.

Meanwhile, liquid supply continues to see a steep decrease.

According to Yann & Jan:

“Float in the network is drying up faster than ever.
“Currently, about 78% of issued bitcoin’s are either lost or being hodled, leaving less than 4 million bitcoins to be shared amongst future market entrants (incl. Paypal, Square, SP500 Companies, ETF’s, etc).

It’s also important to understand Institutional investors love transparency, regulation meaning the more regulated Bitcoin mechanisms such as regulating Crypto exchanges handling it, the more value major institutions will place in it, thus making Bitcoin a less volatile asset in the long term.

Glassnode also revealed that a million Bitcoins (BTC) or almost $30 billion in actual prices, disappeared from the liquid supply in 2020. This process even outperformed the inflow of new Bitcoins (BTC) into the network:

“Currently, we are at a stage in which the illiquid supply is growing more than the total circulating supply according to the report. A similar pattern presently played out again during the bullish rally of 2017.”

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CRYPTOCURRENCY

Coinbase executes over $1 billion Crypto trades for world’s biggest clients

The world’s most valuable crypto exchange revealed it has executed $1 billion-plus crypto trades for some of the biggest institutions in the world.

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In its  recently filed documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the world’s most valuable crypto exchange, Coinbase revealed has executed $1 billion-plus crypto trades for “some of the biggest institutions in the world.”

The leading American Crypto exchange, however, revealed its major objective remains to provide credible crypto services for both institutional and retail clients as crypto continues to expand across financial sectors, according to Coinbase SEC filing.

“Our goal is to become the primary financial account for our retail users and the one-stop-shop for institutions’ crypto-asset investing needs. To achieve these goals, we are developing and launching innovative products and services across our platform to serve each customer’s distinct needs. For example, in 2020 we launched support for post-trade credit to enable institutional customers to instantly invest in crypto assets without pre-funding their trade. For retail users, we have added support for staking, offering our users a simple way to earn rewards on their crypto asset holdings.”

Recall, the fast-rising American crypto exchange financials revealed the crypto startup grew rapidly from 2019 to 2020.

Coinbase was founded was about 9 years ago and allows its customers to buy and sell Crypto Like Bitcoin, Ethereum Polkadot. The fintech company had earlier raised over $540 million in funding as a private company.

In 2019 Coinbase’s net income was- $30.4 million against $533.7 million in revenue. Just last year the crypto juggernaut net income rose to $127.5 million against $1.28 billion in revenue.

The unicorn grew just over 139% in 2020, a massive improvement in its 2019 results.

In an IPO filing, Coinbase says “Address not applicable” in the spot companies usually list their headquarters.

In a footnote, it explains “In May 2020, we became a remote-first company. Accordingly, we do not maintain a headquarters.”

As a risk factor, it cites: “The identification of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous person or persons who developed Bitcoin, or the transfer of Satoshi’s Bitcoins.”

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