Nigeria's Central Bank has reportedly called for bitcoin regulation in an attempt to stop money laundering and avoid international penalties.
Speaking at the second Anti Money Laundering/Combating Financial Terrorism Stakeholders Consultative Workshop held in Abuja – the country's capital – Dr Okwu Nnanna, deputy governor of financial system stability at Nigeria's Central Bank (CBN) said:
"Virtual currency was dangerous because it was not a legal tender of any country hence it has a borderless nature without jurisdiction which makes it a channel for money laundering."
According to media reports, the event – organised by the Association of Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialist – also featured comments from Obot Akpan's, deputy director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department at CBN.
"Financial Action Task Force (FAFT) has observed that virtual currency payment products and services (VCPPS) present opportunity for money laundering and other crime risk that must be identified and mitigated. Virtual currencies present a wide range of issues and challenges that require financial authorities to consider and the challenges posed are unique and call for urgent regulator responses."
The comments follow on from the FATF's recommendations which stated that digital currency exchanges and gateways should be monitored closely in an attempt to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorist activity.
Other regulatory efforts
Nigeria's alleged interest in regulating digital currencies comes amid similar efforts elsewhere.
Last month, Brazilian congressman Manoel Junior proposed a public hearing to discuss bitcoin and digital currency regulation.
In the meantime, the BitLicense, a local regulatory framework formulated by New York's Department of Financial Services is already in place to regulate digital currency businesses operating in the state.
CoinDesk has contacted CBN for comment.
Nigeria flag image via Shutterstock
For more information on bitcoin regulation, check out our regulation report.