Nigerian customers of the crypto exchange AAX stormed the company’s office in Lagos and harassed its employees after the exchange halted withdrawals, according to a Dec. 3 report by a leading Nigerian news website.
Although it's unclear when the assault happened, the Nigerian Blockchain Technology Association Stakeholders (SiBAN) decried the attack on Nov. 28. It urged angry users to be patient with the exchange's workers, who have also been impacted by the withdrawal freeze. SiBAN noted:
"Therefore, we appeal to and discourage any dissatisfied or angry user or investor from harassing or victimizing the AAX Country Manager (Nigeria), other local staff members, and AAX ambassadors nationwide. These persons are also facing the same situation as disgruntled users and investors are. At the time of writing this notice, we are aware that communication between these persons and AAX headquarters has been equally strained at this time. We therefore appeal for understanding and patience from all Nigerian AAX users."
The AAX drama started on Nov. 14, when the exchange halted withdrawals, citing a glitch in its system upgrade. AAX assured its community that the halt in withdrawals had no connection to FTX's collapse, denying ties with the embattled exchange.
The AAX team said on Nov. 15 that it was working on raising additional capital, as investors had been withdrawing their funds amid concerns that contagion would spread further following FTX’s bankruptcy. The SiBAN commented on the situation:
"Considering that AAX’s system upgrade came at a time FTX collapse is still causing a contagion effect on the entire crypto industry, AAX’s timing of its system upgrade was suspicious and questionable in the first place. Consequently, for many AAX users and the members of the public, the prolonged AAX system upgrade till the time of writing this notice significantly raises more questions than answers. And AAX, contrary to its promise to maintain a daily update of the situation, has so far neglected or failed to maintain the trust and confidence of its users."
The Nigerian association also noted that its members are among the affected clients.
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On Nov. 28, Ben Caselin, vice president for global marketing and communications at AAX, resigned from his position, raising speculation that the exchange might not resume operations. According to Caselin, despite his efforts in fighting for the community, “none of the initiatives we came up with were accepted. Any role I had left for communication became hollow.”
The former AAX executive also expressed disagreement with the way that AAX is handling its issues, describing its actions as “without empathy” and “overly opaque.”
On Dec. 6, SiBAN denied the local media report, claiming that "no AAX employee has been assaulted or attacked and no AAX offices have been stormed by any person". AAX did not immediately respond to Cointelegraphs' requests for comments.