Crypto exchange Binance has temporarily suspended deposits in Nigerian naira – the country’s local fiat currency – in response to a directive letter from Nigeria’s central bank (CBN) instructing local banks to identify and close all accounts tied to cryptocurrency platforms or operations. The CBN directive told local banking institutions that dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for crypto exchanges is prohibited under a 2017 circular stating bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in the country.
Withdrawal services remain normal.
Binance announced in a statement that its Nigerian naira payment partners suspended deposit services until further notice, starting from 7 p.m. local time (GMT+1) as of Friday, adding that it is monitoring the situation closely. While the move might impact fiat on- and off-ramps, most of the nation’s crypto trading occurs on peer-to-peer platforms and remains unaffected, according to sources in Nigeria. “However, withdrawal services remain normal and will continue to be processed but might take longer time than usual,” the statement said. In Nigeria, the crypto community is not pleased with the central bank’s directive as the community resisted the blanket ban.
Protesters in Nigeria used bitcoin to raise funds.
The CBN directive comes just months after protesters in Nigeria used bitcoin to raise funds after authorities reportedly shuttered bank accounts associated with the movement. Since the letter started making rounds on the internet, Nigerian crypto users tweeted the hashtag #WeWantOurCryptoBack over 26,000 times, according to data obtained from SproutSocial. But crypto professionals do not believe the panic will last or it will have any impact on crypto adoption. So far, the Nigerian central bank has not provided an official reason for the sudden order that is sending panic through social media.