Luno, a major bitcoin exchange company still has its Nigerian bank account frozen. The reason the account was blocked was due to an issue originating from a third party. The bank account with Stanbic IBTC has been frozen for close to a month now. The account being frozen was confirmed by Luno in one of its latest blog posts. For this reason, Luno has been unable to make naira withdrawals since March 31st.
“This affects all customers who have a pending withdrawal listed on their account…We know that this is extremely frustrating, but please bare (sic) with (us) for a little longer until Stanbic can resolve the problem. This is being worked on as a priority,” the blog post read.
READ MORE: Bitcoin: Nigerians’ Responsiveness
The account was frozen after a victim’s account was used to fund the purchase of Bitcoin on Luno’s platform. This victim was not a Luno customer, which made the victim report the case to the police. This resulted in the freezing of the exchange’s bank account.
Luno added, “Once the victim discovered the theft, they reported it to the police who obtained a court order to freeze Luno’s entire bank account (not just the fraudulent amount). The police and court were unaware that Luno was a business serving thousands of customers and that blocking the account would affect thousands of people, not just this one individual payment. We believe that this was a huge mistake made by the police and court.”
However, the error has now been resolved as the victim has withdrawn the case, but the account hasn’t been unfrozen. The account hasn’t been unfrozen because it took a court order for the freezing of the account. Therefore, it will require another court order –specifically, a higher court order- for the reversal to take effect.
The halt in the exchange’s services –trading, buying, selling, sending and receiving bitcoin- has raised the concern level about the company’s inactivity. The exchange company has however given an estimate of three to four weeks for the account to be unfrozen and functional once more.
Luno’s marketing analyst, Liza Vissier said, “Unfortunately, this kind of situation sometimes happen in our industry. However, we have a very experienced team that is dealing with the situation as efficiently and effectively as possible.”