One of the largest crypto-currency exchanges, Binance, has explained that it restricted the personal accounts of 281 Nigerian users citing the need to comply with international money laundering laws.
The CEO, Changpeng Zhao, in a letter to Nigerian customers on Saturday said the decision to restrict some personal accounts was to ensure user safety while more than a third of the affected accounts were restricted at the request of international law enforcement.
Protection mechanisms such as know your customer, anti-money laundering measures, collaboration with law enforcement and account restrictions are in place to ensure our community remains protected,’ the crypto exchange said in a statement on its website.
“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.”
He added: “Currently, we have resolved 79 cases and continue to work through others. All non-law enforcement-related cases will be resolved within two weeks,” he said.
Nigeria’s apex bank had, last year asked lenders not to transact with cryptocurrency exchanges and ordered digital currency traders to shut down accounts.
Notwithstanding, Nigerians continue to use virtual currencies to hedge against inflation and naira slide, as well as to remit money. Individuals in the country hold the world’s highest proportion of such assets per capita, according to a survey by Statista.