The Central Bank’s targeting of P2P cryptocurrency transactions forces a startup to leave Nigeria.
Kurepay, the Nigerian business behind the social payment app for cryptocurrency and fiat, has suspended operations in Nigeria due to the Central Bank of Nigeria‘s (CBN) recent assault on crypto companies.
According to a report from Cryptoassetbuyer, the suspension of activities would begin in the first quarter of 2022. Kurepay, whose app uses blockchain technology, will begin to limit its operations to over-the-counter (OTC) and crypto consultancy services at that time.
Kurepay CEO Abikure Tega is reported as regretting what he deems a terrible year for bitcoin acceptance and expansion in Nigeria in response to the startup’s decision to leave the West African country. He stated:
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 went on to say that when the CBN denied crypto enterprises access to the banking infrastructure, several cryptocurrency businesses went out of business. The similar blockade prompted other firms to limit their operations to skeleton flow via a P2P technology. According to the CEO, the central bank’s February 5 decree compelled Kurepay to move to an agency network model, allowing consumers to deal directly with one another.
However, starting the beginning of November 2021, the CBN has increased the ante on cryptocurrency dealers, now targeting businesses and people that provide P2P platforms or services to customers that purchase and sell bitcoin. As part of the CBN’s ongoing campaign, certain banks have unilaterally frozen bank accounts of people accused of trading cryptocurrencies.
As Tega said, Kurepay’s targeting of platforms that facilitate P2P transactions proved to be the final straw:
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.
Tega stated that Kurepay plans to run a US-based firm in order to innovate in a more business-friendly climate in addition to limiting its operations to OTC and crypto consultancy services. According to the CEO, such an action allows Kurepay to operate legally and without fear of CBN directions.