“International Law Enforcement” Behind Nigerian Binance Closures

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  • Binance Nigeria closed hundreds of accounts following demands from “international law enforcement”
  • The company shut off access to accounts without warning, catching innocent people in its net
  • Changpeng Zhao has apologized for the manner of the closures

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has told how “international law enforcement” requests have led to over 90 Nigerian-owned Binance accounts being closed following tightened account restrictions in the country. Zhao penned an open letter to the Nigerian Binance community on Saturday explaining why the tough new measures are needed and apologizing for the backlog in customer support requests. The Nigerian Binance community has been up in arms recently over the sudden freezing of accounts, in some cases permanently, with customer-owned cryptocurrency still on the platform.

Binance Nigeria Users Locked Out of Their Accounts

Binance Nigeria users began venting their frustration with the platform last week, posting images of conversations with the platform’s customer service team when their accounts were frozen without warning. #binancestopscamming was soon trending, with users protesting that they had done nothing wrong and could now no longer access their funds:

The Binance customer service team were soon inundated with requests, with the delays causing yet more frustration. Zhao posted the open letter on Saturday in which he apologized for the manner in which the account freezing had been handled, before explaining what had caused the sudden action:

We love and are devoted to our Nigerian community, but we must ensure that our users are safe. As such, protection mechanisms such as KYC, anti-money laundering measures, collaboration with law enforcement, and account restrictions are in place to ensure our community remains protected and that fraudulent activity is prevented.

Zhao gave some context to the actions, saying that, “Some 281 Nigerian accounts have been affected by these personal account restrictions with approximately 38% of these cases restricted at the request of international law enforcement.”

Clearly, these latter cases left Binance with little choice but to act, but the way they have gone about it leaves much to be desired. Zhao promised “speedy resolutions of ongoing user cases tied to account restrictions” were a priority and that Binance would be “devoting more customer service personnel to the region.”