Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele has come under heavy criticism following his description of cryptocurrency as money created out of ‘thin air’.
The CBN governor made this remark while briefing a joint Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions; ICT and Cybercrime; and Capital Market.
Emefiele said cryptocurrency is used to describe the “activities of players in an electronic dark world”.
He went further to say that people who deal in cryptocurrency transactions are those who do not want a trail and who cannot be trailed.
His words, “I’m sure that these definitions are scary enough to create anxiety for any regulator or central bank in any part of the world.”
In a video of Emefiele speaking before the panel which has now gone viral, he said, “Cryptocurrency is an electronic or digital currency that is issued by largely unknown, unregulated elements using computer codes that are basically meant to encrypt or hide information about the transactions and the operators. And in the sense, it is money that is created out of thin air.
“Cryptocurrency is used to describe the activities of players in an electronic dark world, where transactions are extremely opaque, they are black; they are not white, they are not visible and they are not transparent.”
The CBN Governor continued, “In another parlance, these are people who deal in transactions that not only do not want a trail but indeed by its nature cannot be trailed. I’m sure that these definitions are scary enough to create anxiety for any regulator or central bank in any part of the world.”
See the video of CBN Governor's briefing on cryptocurrency that got him trendingpic.twitter.com/D1oozA6rsG
— Instablog9ja (@instablog9ja) February 25, 2021
Recall that CBN in a circular to banks and other financial institutions on February 5 ordered the closure of all accounts that transact in cryptocurrency.
The apex bank had said that dealing in cryptocurrency or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.
This directive, however, ignited angry reactions from many Nigerians especially youths, who called for a reversal of the decision.
Following the controversy it generated, Senate then summoned the Governor Emefiele and Director-General of Security and Exchange Commission, Lamido Yuguda to brief the panel on the opportunities and threats of the cryptocurrency on the nation’s economy.
Disappointed and awed by the CBN Governor’s definition of cryptocurrency before the panel, Nigerians have now taken to social media to berate him.
See some of their reactions below:
The CBN was pushing for Cashless policy before. We accepted and embraced cryptocurrency. Now CBN Governor says its money created out of thin air because they dont get their stupid charges from the transactions. You go finish one pack of Bigi watching naija as a movie
— Salman👑 (@NotJustSalmanPR) February 25, 2021
I don't think the CBN Governor fully understands the concept of money…. But hey, he can do no wrong. He is the CBN Governor.
Lool out of thin air.
— Morris Monye💙 (@Morris_Monye) February 25, 2021
Please what did Jim Ovie see in Godwin Emefiele, as a one-time CEO of Zenith bank?
Because the man I see reading cryptocurrency from a script, is a dunce. CBN Governor thinks crypto is made out of thin air. No wonder the Nigeria economy is in ruins.
— NEFERTITI (@firstladyship) February 25, 2021
I still have this strong feelings that 0.00001 BTC is greater than 0.00001 NGN
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele actually thinks that Cryptocurrency is created out of thin air.
Just imagine a Central Bank Governor saying things like this.
— tian (@Azubuike4me) February 25, 2021
The same crpyptocurrency that any random Nigerian can speak on, is the same one Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor is looking up and reading from a textbook😂😂.
Werey say 'Thin Air'
— Dami ❁. (@GeeKinqest__) February 25, 2021
Godwin Emefiele was probably the brightest student in his class while at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. An orthodox man who's clearly not in touch with current realities.
This is 2021 sir, Blockchain technology is here to stay.
— Daniel דניאל (@Dharnnel_) February 25, 2021