Binance Holdings Ltd. restricted personal accounts of several users in Nigeria to ensure the security of the platform, the CEO said in a blog post.
“User security remains our top priority,” Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao wrote on the company’s website. “We love and are devoted to our Nigerian community, but we must ensure that our users are safe.”
As a consequence of enforcing protection mechanisms, such as KYC and anti-money laundering measures, some 281 Nigerian accounts were restricted, 38% of which at the request of international law enforcement. However, the announcement assured a speedy resolution to all non-law enforcement-related cases within two weeks, with 79 cases having already been resolved.
The CEO also pledged to devote more customer service resources to the region. Already this year, Binance has had to face allegations that it may have enabled money laundering on its platform due to its lax compliance to regulations.
Crypto in Nigeria
The announcement came as a response to many complaints that Binance had been receiving recently from Nigerians who claimed to be unable to initiate or complete transactions. Crypto investors in Nigeria have had an increasingly difficult time trading since the Central Bank asked banks not to transact with exchanges. Late last year, the central bank was accused of “financial terrorism” amid the targeting of users between the ages of 18-30, resulting in the closure of their accounts.
Despite being downplayed by authorities, cryptocurrencies became increasingly popular in Nigeria last year. Because the local currency can be as volatile as some crypto, some Nigerians use more stable crypto to protect their savings, or perform business transactions. Similarly, because US dollars are often difficult to obtain, cryptocurrencies have also proven to be a convenient way for Nigerians to send payments abroad. According to a recent survey by Statista, Nigerians hold the world’s highest proportion of digital assets per capita.
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