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Nigerian Government Confiscates So-Called “Crypto Machines” at Local Airport

The Nigerian authorities have seized five so-called crypto machines at a local airport, alongside other items.

Mining rig

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), an independent unit responsible for goods clearance crossing the national borders and anti-smuggling services, has intercepted five cryptocurrency machines at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria. This move follows the government’s several moves to cripple crypto’s usage within the country.

NCS Seize Crypto Machines

According to local news coverage, the NCS also seized 148 units of military drones and counterfeit $1 billion as they were shipped into the country. These confiscated items have been handed over to the appropriate authorities.

Commenting on the seized crypto-linked machines, an NCS official stated that “they are so tiny, we may think they are nothing. But they can do a lot of harm to the Nigerian economy.”

Although the government shared minimal information on the supposed “cryptocurrency machines,” it is likely that these are mining machines. Crypto mining machines are advanced computer systems that verify new transactions, add them to the blockchain, and generate new coins. These machines are commonly used for mining Bitcoin (BTC), the leading cryptocurrency by market capitalization ranking.

Nigeria’s Fight Against Cryptocurrencies

In recent months, the Nigerian government has fought against seamless cryptocurrency usage among citizens. In December 2023, the country’s sovereign bank lifted its ban on cryptocurrency trading after a nearly three-year-long ban. The action entailed that commercial banks could process crypto transactions for local crypto traders.

In February, the Nigerian naira experienced a severe devaluation against the United States dollar. According to investigations from local authorities, peer-to-peer (P2P) traders on crypto exchanges like Binance were fixing higher rates and consequently hurting the local currency’s value. The government ordered Binance to halt its P2P services for the Nigerian naira to rectify the issue.

Binance executives were invited to Nigeria to discuss the matter that same month. The two senior executives who went were detained in the country after a first meeting over tax evasion charges. Earlier this week, Binance CEO Richard Teng called for the officials’ release as they are yet to return home after more than 70 days.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government have tightened its P2P restrictions by ordering local banks to block accounts caught performing any crypto-related transactions.

Mishael Nwani

Mishael Nwani is an avid crypto enthusiast with nearly four years of experience in the industry. Since 2022, he has covered topics across cryptocurrencies, NFTs, artificial intelligence, and financial markets.