Nigeria tightens cryptocurrency controls, disrupts exchange access

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23rd February 2024 – (Lagos) The Nigerian government has implemented a clampdown on digital currency operations, tasking telecommunications and internet service providers with the blockade of prominent cryptocurrency exchange platforms such as Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken.

The move is ostensibly a countermeasure against the Nigerian populace’s escalating resort to cryptocurrencies as a hedge against the naira’s recurrent devaluation.

Telecommunication operators have already begun to execute these restrictions, reports Premium Times, a Nigerian online news portal. Binance, in dialogue with Bloomberg, confirmed that Nigerian customers were facing impediments when attempting to use their services, though the company assured that the integrity of user assets remains intact.

Coinbase, conversely, contests these developments. The firm conveyed to CoinDesk that their initial inquiries suggest that access to Coinbase.com might yet persist in Nigeria, with further investigations underway to ascertain the full scope of the situation.

This governmental edict follows a pronouncement in June by Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission, which branded Binance’s activities within the country as illegitimate. This regulatory stance sharply deviates from the previously hinted-at collaborations between Nigerian authorities and digital currency platforms, aimed at forging a digital economic enclave designed to harness blockchain technology.

Nigeria’s stance is part of a worldwide wave of tightened control over the cryptocurrency market. The past year has seen the industry beset with volatility – a downturn in market values precipitated a cascade of bankruptcies, controversies, and significant capital erosion for many stakeholders.