Binance Places Restrictions On 281 Nigerian Crypto Accounts

Binance CEO Says User Security is Priority

In a letter to Nigerian Binance users, the company’s CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said that the platform restricted the accounts of several users in the country in compliance with international anti money-laundering rules (AML). The Binance CEO revealed that over 280 trading accounts had been restricted by the exchange.

According to an excerpt from the letter:

“Some 281 Nigerian accounts have been affected by these personal account restrictions with approximately 38% of these cases restricted at the request of international law enforcement.”

CZ’s letter comes a few days after Binance received heavy criticism from its Nigerian customers on Twitter, where people complained about their funds being “locked” and accounts disabled by the platform for months, without sufficient reason. A hashtag #BinanceStopScamming started trending on Twitter NG, alongside another #Binancestopscammingnigerians, with aggrieved users posting screenshots of their conversations with Binance and accusing the platform of unfair practices.

Meanwhile, CZ, in response to the complaints, said that the platform was committed to serving its Nigerian customers, but said that user security was a top priority for the company. The Binance chief said:

“As such, protection mechanisms such as KYC, anti-money laundering measures, collaboration with law enforcement, and account restrictions are in place to ensure our community remains protected and that fraudulent activity is prevented. This is a global approach applied in every country.”

CZ also said that 79 of the 281 restricted accounts were reinstated by the Binance Customer Service team. In addition, the CEO stated that cases not related to law enforcement would be settled within two weeks.

Binance has now promised to improve its customer support, especially in Nigeria. According to Zhao, the company is planning to deploy more customer service personnel, who have a “great understanding of the Nigerian market.”

Nigeria’s Crypto Landscape

The Nigerian crypto market continues to grow exponentially, despite the restrictions in place by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Back in February 2021, the CBN prohibited financial institutions from servicing cryptocurrency-related businesses.

Later in November of the same year the Central Bank directed commercial banks to freeze accounts of individuals suspected to be conducting crypto transactions. There were also reports that a leading commercial bank had instructed its staff to monitor accounts that were suspected to be engaging in cryptocurrency trading. Meanwhile, the CBN clarified that there was no crypto ban in place, but clarified that restrictions have been enacted to prevent the use of the country’s banking sector for cryptocurrency transactions.

While Nigeria’s central bank may not be completely open to crypto, the CBN has developed a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Back in October, the CBN made history as the first country in Africa to launch a sovereign digital currency–the eNaira.

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