Coinbase Pushes Back on Reports It's Blocked in Nigeria

Multiple outlets have reported other platforms such as Kraken and Binance have also been blocked under government orders.

AccessTimeIconFeb 22, 2024 at 5:10 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 9:59 p.m. UTC

Exchange platform Coinbase remains accessible in Nigeria despite reports to the contrary, as renewed calls for a crypto ban in the country have intensified, a spokesperson for the exchange confirmed to CoinDesk on Thursday.

Multiple local outlets and the Financial Times have reported local telecommunications companies have been asked by the government to block several platforms, including Binance, Coinbase and Kraken – and that they have acted on it.

"We are continuing to investigate these reports, but based on an initial investigation, it appears that remains accessible from Nigeria," the spokesperson for Coinbase said in an email.

Nigeria's securities watchdog said in July that the Binance's activities in the country were illegal. Binance did not respond to a comment by press time, and Kraken declined to comment.

According to these reports, the request was fueled by the continued struggle of the official currency, the Nigerian naira. The naira has plummeted to record lows against the U.S. dollar in recent days, and the country suffered a devastating cash shortage ahead of national elections last year.

Crypto exchange platforms like Binance have been "blatantly setting exchange rate for Nigeria," hijacking the role of the country's central bank, said Bayo Onanuga, an advisor to Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, in a Wednesday post on X.

Onanuga called for other firms – such as Kucoin and Bybit – should also "be banned from operating in our cyberspace."

This is not the first time Nigeria has come after crypto. Service providers were restricted from accessing banking services locally by the Central Bank of Nigeria – a move it recently overturned. The country has remained a strong adopter of cryptocurrency, particularly for remittances.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.


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Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.