Paxful, a peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace, has announced that it will be suspending its operations. With 1.5 million users in Nigeria, the platform has played a significant role in expanding the crypto industry in the country. According to Paxful’s CEO, Nigeria is the company’s largest market, with over $1.5 billion in volume to date since 2015.￼
In a blog post, the CEO, Ray Youssef, stated that the platform’s suspension was due to key staff departures and regulatory challenges, especially in the US. Youssef did not provide further details, but during a Twitter Space, he mentioned that a lawsuit brought by a co-founder who was allegedly kicked out of the company also influenced the decision to shut down the platform.
Nigeria has been ranked eighth in crypto adoption and usage among 154 countries in the 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report by Chainalysis. Despite the ban on cryptocurrencies and transactions related to them by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2021, Nigerian cities such as Lagos and Ibadan have been listed as crypto hubs across the globe. In fact, Lagos is number 14 and Ibadan number 24 in the top 50 crypto hubs list compiled by crypto accounting services firm, Recap.
Paxful has been credited with pioneering the use of peer-to-peer technology in Nigeria, helping to expand the crypto industry in the country. However, the regulatory challenges facing the industry continue to grow, making it difficult for platforms such as Paxful to operate. For now, Paxful has advised its users to explore self-custody and trade elsewhere.