Nigerian crypto company suspends withdrawals after BTC and naira compromise

Patricia — a Nigerian gift card and crypto trading platform — has encountered a security breach, prompting immediate measures to safeguard its users. As a precautionary step, the platform has temporarily suspended fund withdrawals.

The company announced it was a victim of a security breach that compromised its Bitcoin (BTC) and naira assets. In the message it sent to users, it said other cryptocurrencies and customer funds were unaffected by the breach. However, customers cannot withdraw funds from the platform as it is “undergoing internal restructuring.”

Although Patricia did not disclose the extent of assets compromised in the breach, it revealed that an individual among the syndicated group that perpetrated the breach had been identified with the help of law enforcement. It said it would continue to work with law enforcement and other partners to recover the assets.

Since the suspension of withdrawals on the platform, its users have taken to Twitter to express their opinions, citing inconveniences. Nonetheless, the company emphasizes its ongoing efforts to enhance the platform’s security measures.

According to reports, the specific person within the group was identified through compromised naira assets, with most of the naira assets being linked back to that individual.

To enhance the security of the platform, the company has enlisted the services of a security firm to conduct an audit. Once the affected arm of the business — Patricia Personal — receives clearance for operations, customers will regain the ability to withdraw their funds.

Related: Nigeria goes blockchain: Policy could impact digital identity

In February, a Nigerian fintech company, Flutterwave, was allegedly exploited for nearly 2.9 billion nairas ($6.3 million). The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) began flagging bank accounts in response to the hack and in a bid to apprehend the culprits.

The CBN does not recognize cryptocurrencies as legal tender. In February 2021, the CBN banned commercial banks in Nigeria from engaging in cryptocurrency transactions. In a bid to protect citizens from black market criminal and fraudulent crypto activities, the CBN made it clear that the financial system and banking sector would not be linked to cryptocurrency trading.

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