Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, is probing 281 Nigerian personal accounts for possible regulatory breach.
The company has restricted the accounts to ensure the platform’s security and prevent fraud, its founder and CEO has said.
In a statement, Changpeng Zhao said that about 38 per cent of the accounts were restricted at the request of international law enforcement.
“User security remains our top priority,” he said. “We love and are devoted to our Nigerian community but we must ensure that our users are safe.”
Zhao’s statement comes after complaints by Nigerian users who say they have lost access to their accounts and funds without a valid reason.
Using the hashtags such as #BinanceStopScamming, #BinanceStealingCrypto, they called for a boycott of the exchange with many expressing frustration for allegedly failing to get customer care support from Binance.
Zhao said Binance has resolved 79 cases connected to account restrictions and will work towards speedy resolution of such cases.
Despite the Nigerian government barring local banks and other institutions from dealing in cryptocurrencies last year, the digital currencies are still popular in the west African country.
The CBN in February 2020 directed Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) and Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs) local financial institutions to close accounts belonging to crypto currency operators.
Cryptocurrency traders in January met with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on how to regulate their operations.
The restrictions meant that traders cannot process withdrawal and deposit using our platforms anymore, or through third party platform like Paystack or Flutterwave.
The operators also requested that the CBN and other regulatory bodies can regulate cryptocurrency exchanges with existing laws and licences.
They expect the apex bank to add legal certifications for exchanges—for example, registration under the Special Control Unit on Money Laundering (SCUML).