A guide to the top crypto-friendly banks in Nigeria

At the time of writing, 33.4 million out of over 420 million crypto users worldwide come from Nigeria. This proves there’s a massive market for crypto in Nigeria, which banks may see as an opportunity to take advantage of cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin (BTC). In fact, despite the Nigerian Central Bank’s prohibition on local banks, private banks have still partnered with crypto exchanges, allowing Nigerians to transact cryptos with naira.

In this guide by Crypto in Afrika, find out the best Nigerian banks where you can process crypto transactions. 

Which banks accept Bitcoin in Nigeria?

There are no laws that make crypto illegal in Nigeria. That’s why Nigerians are free to do with crypto as they wish. They can send, buy, sell and trade it. However, they can only do this through crypto exchanges and P2P networks. That’s because the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has banned crypto transactions in their local banking system.

To be clear, the CBN does not prohibit crypto, but it does prohibit crypto transactions through local banks. The law no longer permits such transactions and can lead to your account being shut down if you get caught. However, there’s still a way to transact or buy crypto in Nigeria using banks through P2P platforms.

Below you can find a list of Nigerian banks for your crypto investments, where we go in-depth on their features, benefits and disadvantages: 

  1. Zenith Bank
Image from Zenith Bank

One of the Bitcoin-friendly banks in Nigeria is Zenith Bank. Since 1990, it is now a trusted Nigerian bank offering various financial services, including corporate and Internet banking.

After the CBN’s crypto ban directive in 2021, Zenith Bank closed all accounts with crypto transfer history. Nigerian traders can no longer deposit naira from their Zenith Bank accounts to their cryptocurrency exchanges for fear of their accounts getting closed. 

However, in 2022, Binance, one of the best crypto trading apps in Nigeria, added Zenith Bank to its list of accepted banks for its peer-to-peer (P2P) platform. Here, Nigerian clients can buy crypto by sending funds directly to whomever they’re transacting with, bypassing centralised cryptocurrency exchanges. Through this, Nigerian traders can continue purchasing and trading digital assets.

  1. Guaranty Trust Bank
Image from Guaranty Trust Facebook Page

One of the trusted banks that accept Bitcoin is Guaranty Trust Bank. Founded in 1990, it has become a major bank in Nigeria, offering various services, including corporate banking, asset management and retail banking. 

Like Zenith Bank, GTBank followed CNB’s orders and previously closed all accounts that dealt with cryptocurrencies. It later became accepted in various cryptocurrency P2P platforms like Binance and Bitpapa. This means Nigerian GTBank holders can buy crypto peer-to-peer instead of using third-party companies.

  1. Providus Bank
Image from Providus Bank

Founded in 2006, Providus Bank is a commercial bank in Nigeria that offers debt financing to small to medium-sized companies. It caters to the e-commerce, entertainment, agriculture and hospitality industries. 

Providus Bank used to have virtual accounts, especially for crypto transactions, but it closed them after the CBN’s directive. Before, it was supported in exchanges like Bitstamp, Quidax and Yellowcard. 

At the time of writing, Providus Bank account users can no longer send funds to crypto exchange wallets. However, Providus Bank is still on the Buycoins exchange’s list of accepted banks. This means you can deposit here with your banking account and buy crypto. 

  1. Ecobank

Ecobank is one of the trusted ​​crypto-friendly banks Nigeria has. It offers a full panel of banking services in 35 African countries and other European countries like the United Kingdom and France. 

To buy Bitcoin and other digital assets, Ecobank users can go to P2P platforms Binance. Here, you can buy and sell directly with users who accept payments through personal bank accounts or wallets.

  1. Stanbic Bank
Image from Dignited

One of the leading banks that accept crypto in Africa is Stanbic Bank. Established in 1989, Stanbic Bank is an end-to-end financial service provider founded by Atedo Peterside CON. 

Like all Nigerian banks mentioned above, Stanbic Bank followed the CBN’s orders, closed down crypto accounts, and prohibited its users from dealing in crypto transactions. However, in April 2022, the CBN fined Stanbic ₦200 million for allowing two accounts to continue crypto transactions. The latter said they must have passed through the system undetected.

Despite this, Stanbic Bank is still included in Binance’s list of accepted Nigerian banks for their P2P platform. This way, Nigerian traders can continue using their Stanbic Bank accounts to buy crypto without fear of having their accounts closed.

What’s the crypto situation in Nigeria?

Even though 33.4 million crypto users worldwide come from Nigeria, crypto is still far from being used as a mainstream currency here, mainly due to CBN’s directive. However, this hasn’t stopped crypto activities in the country. Here’s the situation of crypto in Nigeria at the time of writing:

CBN ordered banks to stop crypto dealings in 2021

In February 2021, CBN directed local banks to stop dealing with crypto and close all accounts with crypto trading history. This order applied to deposit money banks (DMBs), non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) and other financial institutions (OFIs).

This follows CBN’s announcement in January 2017, where digital currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), and others are primarily used in money laundering and terrorism financing. 

Banks closed down accounts

After CBN’s order, banks like GTBank and Access Bank closed down accounts with crypto trading history without warning. Account holders were then barred from accessing their funds. To reopen their accounts, clients, in GTBank’s case, needed to write a letter promising to no longer trade crypto. Many GTBank clients decided not to reopen their accounts following this.

The rise of P2P platforms

Closing their bank accounts didn’t stop crypto traders from trading and investing in crypto. Since CBN only banned bank transactions involving crypto, such as transfers from bank accounts to crypto exchanges, Nigerian traders turned to P2P platforms. Thus, after the ban, P2P crypto trading surged by 15% in Nigeria. 

Nigerian traders relied on one of the top P2P trading crypto platforms, Binance. According to data from UsefulTulips, Nigeria transacted US$99.1 million in Bitcoins (BTC) in the first quarter of 2021. In July 2022, five months after the CBN order, Binance added 21 African banks to its P2P platform, 12 of which are Nigerian, suggesting the heavy traffic coming from the country.

CBN’s plan for crypto in the future

In January 2023, after two years of closing bank accounts and ordering banks to stop dealing with crypto, the Central Bank of Nigeria stated it would develop a regulatory policy framework for using digital currencies in the country, mainly stablecoins. 

This could be good news for crypto traders and investors. Despite the current ban, Bitcoin has had a significant presence in the country, like the construction of a Bitcoin village and Nigerian Bitcoiners participating in various forms of development.

The approval of the National Blockchain Policy in 2023

In May 2023, the Federal Government of Nigeria approved a National Blockchain Policy. According to Prof Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, the new policy results from consultations with 56 institutions and personalities, with the ultimate goal of institutionalising blockchain technology in Nigeria’s economy and security sectors. 

As a result, we can confidently state that blockchain technology, in all its components and forms, has been institutionalised in the country. This could mean more leniency on the use of cryptocurrencies in the future.

Buy Bitcoin now with crypto-friendly banks in Nigeria

Years into the crypto hype, it’s clear that its popularity in Nigeria cannot be stopped. That’s why besides crypto exchange, banks in Nigeria that accept Bitcoin and other cryptos might become more common soon, especially with recent developments. This small step could pave the way for more crypto-friendly banks where you can buy Bitcoin in Nigeria

Frequently Asked Questions

How do crypto banks work?

Crypto banks are crypto banking and investment applications that enable users to buy, sell, and hold digital assets easily and securely. This kind of bank operates like traditional financial institutions—holding stocks and cash for customers. However, crypto banks hold digital assets.

What are crypto banks?

Crypto banks are financial institutions incorporating crypto into traditional monetary transactions such as deposits and withdrawals, lending and borrowing and investing in a broader range of instruments and markets.

How do I withdraw Bitcoin from my bank account in Nigeria?

You can withdraw your digital asset by sending your Bitcoin to your exchange wallet. From here, you can convert your Bitcoin into fiat and send it to your bank account.

What banks allow you to buy Bitcoin?

Banks that allow crypto purchases are Zenith, Providus, Stanic and Ecobank through P2P crypto exchange platforms.

Why is crypto better than banks?

Unlike banks, crypto is independent of third-party control. This decentralised nature results in low transaction fees and more secure processes.

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