Nigeria denies freezing over 300 P2P accounts on more crypto exchanges amid forex concerns

Nigerian authorities are gearing up for the next phase of their crackdown on crypto trading, targeting peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms like OKX, Binance, KuCoin, and Bybit, according to a trending circular on social media platform X.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said the information contained in the circular did not originate from it, claiming it is “fake content.” People familiar with the matter stated that backtracking on unpopular policies was not uncommon in the region.

The memo

Per the trending circular, the CBN ordered financial institutions in the country to identify individuals or entities transacting with these exchanges and implement a six-month Post No Debit (PND) instruction on their accounts.

According to the bank, the mentioned platforms are not licensed to operate in Nigeria and are currently under investigation. It added that defaulters of this directive would be faced with severe regulatory sanctions.

The bank also warned that any trader “buying and selling USDT illegally” would be arrested.

The CBN further reminded regulated financial entities in the country that they were barred from dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for crypto exchanges.

Olumide Adesina, a business journalist, explained that the CBN’s official stance was that only entities regulated by the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the crypto market could deal with banks.

Over 300 P2P accounts frozen

In a recent press briefing, Ola Olukayode, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC), noted that transactions on P2P platforms like KuCoin were exacerbating the country’s foreign exchange challenges.

He said the anti-graft agency had frozen about 300 suspected illegal forex accounts trading on P2P platforms. Notably, over $15 billion passed through one of these platforms in the last year.

This development comes as the Nigerian government has adopted a stringent stance towards crypto to stabilize the foreign exchange market. Initially, the authorities attributed the Nigerian Naira’s weak value against the US Dollar to currency traders’ speculative activities on the crypto exchange Binance.

The exchange has denied these allegations but is still facing trial, alongside two of its executives, for tax evasion and money laundering.

Binance said it is cooperating with the authorities and called for the release of its detained employees.

April 24 Update: Updated to include information from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

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