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Binance will destroy Nigeria’s economy if not halted – Presidency

Binance will destroy Nigeria’s economy if not halted – Presidency

President Bola Tinubu’s government has tried to justify its clampdown on Binance on Wednesday, accusing the cryptocurrency platform of sabotaging and destroying Nigeria’s economy.

“Look at what Binance is doing to our economy. That’s why the government moved against Binance,” said Bayo Onanuga, media aide to the president.

Read also: Crypto giant Binance faces allegation of commingling customers funds and company revenue

“Some people sit down on the cyberspace to determine our exchange rate, hijacking the role of the CBN. They just sit down and fix what they like.”

Onanuga disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV on Wednesday night, a few hours after Nuhu Ribadu, the national security adviser, detained two executives of the crypto exchange platform, confiscating their international passports.

Read also: CBN lifts ban on cryptocurrency transactions in Nigerian banks

Onanuga said the Tinubu-led government was informed that Binance would cripple Nigeria’s economy if they didn’t clamp down on the cryptocurrency platform.

“We were told that if we don’t clampdown on Binance, Binance will destroy the economy of this country. They just fix the rate. It is a sabotage,” Mr Onanuga said.

Olayemi Cardoso, Central Bank of Nigeria governor, had on Tuesday, during the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, said over $26 billion passed through Binance in the past one year.

Read also: SEC sets new regulations on cryptocurrencies, issuance limit now N10bn

In the past week, federal authorities had clamped down on cryptocurrency platforms while raiding Bureau de Change nationwide in a bid to stabilise the declining Nigerian naira.

Last week, Binance confirmed it was working with the Tinubu-led government to block dollar-naira trading on the platform. In the same week, the government blocked access to the Binance website by Nigerian users.

On Wednesday, Binance disabled its peer-to-peer function for Nigerian users. Peer-to-peer function, popularly known as P2P, allows users, buyers and sellers to trade without third-party interference.

Read also: Bitcoin, Ethereum plunge amid broader crypto sell-off, $200 billion wiped off market

With the disabling of the P2P function for Nigerian users, Nigerians might no longer trade on Binance.

Reports say Nigerian currency was unavailable on Binance on Wednesday.

Nigeria detains Binance executives 

Two senior executives at Binance have been detained in Nigeria as the country cracks down on cryptocurrency exchanges, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The executives flew to Nigeria following the country’s decision to ban several cryptocurrency trading websites last week but they were detained by the office of the country’s national security adviser and their passports seized, the report, opens new tab said.

Read also: FUTURE INVESTMENT INITIATIVE: Bank Chiefs, CEOs Differ on Cryptocurrency Investment

Binance has not responded request for comment as of the time this story was published.

The crackdown follows a period after several cryptocurrency websites emerged as platforms of choice for trading the Nigerian currency, which has suffered chronic dollar shortages.

The naira’s official exchange rate has been trading at levels close to the parallel market level after the currency was devalued last month, its second adjustment in less than a year.

Nigeria has been experiencing crippling dollar shortages that have pushed its currency to record lows after foreign investors fled following a previous oil price collapse and introduction of capital controls in 2015.


This story used additional details from Financial Times and Reuters


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