• Monday, April 15, 2024
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Nigeria arrests Binance executives in renewed crypto crackdown

Binance paused Nigerian trades over price suppression

Nigeria’s renewed crackdown on cryptocurrency has opened a new chapter, with the country going after senior executives at Binance.

Two executives of the crypto platform who flew to Nigeria following the country’s recent restriction on several cryptocurrency trading websites have been detained by the office of the country’s national security adviser and their passports seized, according to a report by Financial Times (FT).

This confirms recent allegations that the country may be going after crypto traders to rein in currency speculators. This aligns with the government’s clampdown on crypto platforms, whose websites are now restricted, in the country.

Nigeria blames crypto platforms for aiding currency speculations and fueling the rapid devaluation of the naira. Authorities in the country are demanding to see a list of Binance’s Nigerian users since its inception, someone familiar with the matter told FT.

On Tuesday, Olayemi Cardoso, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, disclosed that $26 billion flowed through Binance Nigeria in one year from sources and users the apex bank could not identify.

He also confirmed an ongoing collaboration by different agencies, including the Police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Office of the National Security Adviser, to save the naira amidst allegations that the country has been arresting individuals in the crypto space.

He, “Suffice to say that we are determined to do everything it takes to ensure that we take charge of our market and not allow others to manipulate it… We will not accept it and will do everything possible to prevent any infraction.”

On Wednesday, some crypto firms in the country, including Binance, stopped users from buying USDT and USDC stablecoins with naira.

Binance has consistently maintained that it is working with the country’s regulators. In one of its communications with its users last week, it said, “We continue to actively engage with regulators, policymakers and other relevant stakeholders to foster an open, transparent dialogue about managing the evolving landscape of cryptocurrency and financial markets.”

Nigeria’s new clampdown on crypto negates its Central Bank’s recent move to allow digital currency in its formal banking system.