Peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading platform, Paxful is suspending its operations indefinitely. The company’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ray Youssef, made the announcement on Tuesday, citing personnel and regulatory challenges.
“We unfortunately have had some key staff departures. Also, regulatory challenges for the industry continue to grow, especially in the peer-to-peer market and most heavily in the US,” Youssef said in a statement. “While we work through these issues, we have taken the most secure option and ask you to explore self-custody and trade elsewhere.”
According to Youssef, all customer funds are accounted for and can be withdrawn from their Paxful wallet to self-custody platforms such as Exodus and Muun. According to Bloomberg, the trading platform began operations in 2015 and has been involved in more than $4 billion in transactions.
Paxful is popular in Ghana, particularly in Nigeria, with more than 1.5 million users. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) banned cryptocurrencies in 2021 due to reasons they are being used for illegal activities, including money laundering, terrorism financing, purchase of small arms and light weapons, and tax evasion, according to The PunchNG. Despite this, cryptocurrency trading remains popular in Nigeria. Its commercial cities, Lagos and Ibadan were listed among the top 50 cryptocurrency hotspots in the world by Recap, a crypto accounting firm, in 2022.
On Wednesday, Bitcoin traded above $28,000, less than half of its price peaks as the pressure grows on cryptocurrencies. The Paxful announcement follows the shutdown of Sam Bankman-Fried’s exchange FTX and the collapse of crypto-friendly banks Silvergate Capital Corp. and Signature Bank. In February, another peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading platform, LocalBitcoins suspended its operations.