Central Bank's Targeting of P2P Crypto Transactions Forces Startup to Quit Nigeria
The Nigerian startup behind the social payment app for cryptocurrency and fiat, Kurepay, says the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s current crackdown on crypto entities has forced it to suspend operations in Nigeria.
‘Horrible’ Year for Crypto Adoption
According to a report by the Cryptoassetbuyer, this suspension of operations is set to commence at the start of the first quarter of 2022. At that time, Kurepay, whose app harnesses blockchain technology, will begin to restrict its business to over-the-counter (OTC) and crypto consulting services.
Commenting on the startup’s plan to quit the West African country, Kurepay CEO Abikure Tega is quoted lamenting what he calls a horrible year for cryptocurrency adoption and expansion in Nigeria. He said:
This year has been quite horrible for cryptocurrency adoption and expansion in Nigeria as CBN continues to take drastic measures to slow down and frustrate Nigeria’s growing ability to participate in what has been the fastest-growing emerging industry in the world.
Tega added that when the CBN denied crypto companies access to the banking ecosystem, this resulted in the closure of many cryptocurrency businesses. The same blockade also forced other companies to reduce their operations to skeletal flow using a P2P system. According to the CEO, the central bank’s February 5 directive had forced Kurepay to switch to an agency network model which enabled customers to transact directly with each other.
Current CBN Crackdown the Final Straw
However, since the beginning of November 2021, the CBN has upped the ante against cryptocurrency traders and is now targeting entities and individuals that provide P2P platforms or services to customers who buy and sell crypto. As previously reported by Bitcoin.com News, the CBN’s renewed crackdown has seen some banks arbitrarily freeze bank accounts of individuals suspected of trading cryptocurrency.
For Kurepay, such targeting of platforms that enable P2P transactions proved to be the final straw as Tega explained:
The recent show of lowliness from CBN in its recent closure of bank accounts in Nigeria with connection to crypto transactions affecting most of Kurepay agent partners in the name of regulation is unfair and frustrating. Due to this recent clampdown which we find difficult to understand considering that Nigeria is not a lawless country, Kurepay, Africa’s foremost social payment app for cryptocurrency & fiat — is announcing the suspension of business operations in Nigeria.
In addition to restricting its business to OTC and crypto consulting services, Tega said Kurepay is plotting “to operate a US-based company in order to innovate in a more business-friendly environment.” The CEO argues that such a move enables Kurepay to operate lawfully and without worrying about CBN directives.
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