Nigeria: Coinbase Refutes Claims of Nigerian Crypto Ban

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Cryptocurrency platform Coinbase has rejected reports suggesting that it is facing restrictions in Nigeria.

A recent article by the Financial Times (FT) alleged that the Nigerian government had instructed telecom providers in the country to block access to platforms such as Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken.

However, a spokesperson for Coinbase informed Coindesk on Thursday (Feb. 22) that their services are still accessible in Africa’s largest economy.

“We are actively investigating these reports, but based on our initial assessment, it appears that remains accessible from Nigeria,” the spokesperson stated.

PYMNTS has reached out to Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken for further clarification but has not yet received a response.

According to the Financial Times, Nigeria’s purported action comes amidst efforts to curb currency speculation following a decline in the value of the nation’s currency, the naira. The report suggested a notable shift in the Nigerian government’s stance.

In December, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) lifted a nearly three-year ban on cryptocurrency transactions while emphasizing the need to regulate Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs), including cryptocurrencies and crypto assets. The bank introduced new guidelines requiring VASPs to obtain licensing from the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to operate in the crypto space.

Last week, Bayo Onanuga, an adviser to Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, voiced concerns in X publication that crypto platforms were “openly setting exchange rates for Nigeria,” usurping the role of the central bank. Onanuga advocated for other companies to be barred from operating in Nigeria’s cyberspace to prevent further currency devaluation.

These developments coincide with Coinbase and other crypto firms exploring opportunities in overseas markets amidst growing regulatory scrutiny in the U.S.

Singapore stands out among these markets, where a recent Coinbase survey revealed that over half of the city-state’s financially savvy residents are cryptocurrency owners.

“We are encouraged by the findings of the recent survey in Singapore, which underscore the increasing interest in cryptocurrency and staking,” Coinbase noted in a blog post last week. The company reiterated its belief in the transformative potential of decentralized technologies to democratize access to financial services, affirming their role as the future of finance.

The blog post highlighted staking as the most popular activity among cryptocurrency users in Singapore, with a significant portion utilizing both centralized exchanges and decentralized finance applications for staking purposes.

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