Binance Execs Arrested in Nigeria Following Crypto Clampdown

By Mark Hunter

1 day agoThu Feb 29 2024 09:17:24

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Nigerian authorities have detained two senior executives from Binance following a clampdown on crypto trading in the country
The executives, arriving after Nigeria’s ban on crypto trading sites, were apprehended by the national security adviser’s office
Nigerian officials are trying to stop efforts by citizens to speculate on the rapidly devaluing currency

Nigerian authorities have detained two senior Binance executives in a move aimed at tightening control over cryptocurrency exchanges and curbing speculation on the naira. The executives, who flew to Nigeria following the country’s recent ban on several cryptocurrency trading websites, were detained by the office of the national security adviser, with their passports seized. Following the detention of the executives, Binance halted trading of the naira against Bitcoin and USDT .

Nigeria Clamps Down on Speculators
Nigeria has been clamping down on crypto trading since 2021 , more recently blocking access to major cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken as ordered by Nigeria’s telecoms regulator last week. 

During a press conference on Tuesday, Nigeria’s central bank governor, Olayemi Cardoso, singled out Binance while discussing the flow of funds through crypto exchanges, expressing concerns about illicit flows and suspicious activities. Cardoso claimed that $26 billion had passed through Binance Nigeria in the past year alone, without adequate identification of the sources and users.

Cardoso revealed that Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, police, and national security adviser are collaborating on an investigation into cryptocurrency exchanges, part of which includes a demand to see a list of Binance’s Nigerian users since its inception.

Naira Devaluation is Great Advert for Bitcoin
The crackdown on cryptocurrency websites comes in response to the rapid devaluation of the Nigerian naira, which has contributed to soaring inflation rates, reaching nearly 30% – the highest in almost three decades. Crypto exchanges have served as an alternative platform for trading, establishing an unofficial price for the Nigerian currency. 

The development contrasts with the government’s efforts to attract foreign investment through market-friendly reforms, aiming to stabilize the struggling economy by addressing issues such as multiple exchange rates and currency pegs.

Nigeria has devalued the naira twice in the past eight months, decisions which merely serve to highlight the appeal of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, which have fixed supply rates and cannot be devalued in this way.

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