Coinbase CEO Refutes False Claims of Banning Nigerian Users, Confirms No Government Directives Received


A report surfaced indicating that Nigeria’s telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), was directed by the country’s central bank to block access to cryptocurrency websites, naming platforms such as Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken. This action reportedly took place shortly after Binance restricted peer-to-peer transactions involving the USDT/NGN pair, a reason behind naira’s decline to lows, according to a separate report. Despite these claims, the CEO of Coinbase has refuted the report, stating that the exchange has not been issued any directive by the government and continues to operate without disruption.

Coinbase CEO Refutes Claims Of Nigerian Access Restriction

Leading U.S.-based exchange Coinbase has dismissed allegations that it received orders from the Nigerian government to limit access for its citizens. The clarification came from a statement by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong on the social media platform X.

Armstrong was addressing rumors that the Nigerian government had restricted its citizens’ access to major cryptocurrency trading platforms, including Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken.

He stated, “This is inaccurate WRT Coinbase as far as I can tell. Coinbase products are still operating (no interruption) We haven’t received any outreach or communication from officials in Nigeria.”

The dispute began earlier this week as Nigerians took to the social media platform X to voice their difficulties in accessing their favorite cryptocurrency trading platforms. To ditch these restrictions, some users turned to virtual private networks (VPNs) to gain access to the crypto exchanges.

Yet, there has been no official confirmation that the government ordered restrictions on access to Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken. Additionally, further updates from several Nigerians on X have indicated that these cryptocurrency exchanges are still accessible, challenging earlier claims to the contrary.

Naira Reaches New Low Against Dollar

The recent restrictions on crypto represent a significant move in Nigeria, moving away from President Bola Tinubu’s earlier market-friendly reforms aimed at attracting foreign investment to boost the economy.

These reforms had included efforts to regulate digital assets like bitcoin and tether, previously seen as alternatives to traditional investments, and a reversal of the ban on crypto transactions to strengthen anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures.

However, the government is now focused on consolidating its exchange rate system and has devalued its currency twice in eight months, leading to the naira falling to 1,851 against the dollar from less than 900 at the beginning of January.

Bayo Onanuga, an advisor to President Tinubu, criticized Binance for attacking the Central Bank’s authority in setting currency rates through its exchange. He advocated for a crypto ban in Nigeria, arguing, “this bleeding of our currency will continue unabated,” unless access to the exchanges is stopped.

As a result, last year, the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission deemed a local Binance operation unlawful due to its lack of registration or regulation by the authority. Despite this, users continued to access Binance’s global website.

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Shayan Chowdhury

Shayan is a digital nomad and a professional journalist. He delivers high-quality engaging articles to Coinpedia through his in-depth research and analysis.

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