Cryptocurrency: Nigerian Govt Detains 2 Binance Executives Amidst Crackdown

The Nigerian government has reportedly detained two senior executives of Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange, as part of its efforts to regulate the crypto market and curb illicit financial activities.

Following the ban on Binance’s website, the executives flew into Nigeria last week and were apprehended by officials from the office of the National Security Adviser. Their passports were confiscated upon arrival.

Nigeria As One Of The Largest Cryptocurrency Market Globally

Nigeria has emerged as one of the largest peer-to-peer crypto markets globally, with transactions amounting to $56.7 billion between July 2022 and June 2023.

The government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges aims to rein in speculation on the naira and prevent illicit fund movements. Recently, the Nigerian Communications Commission blocked the online platforms of Binance and other crypto firms to counter what it perceives as forex market manipulation.

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CBN Governor’s Concern About The Illicit Flow Of Funds Through Cryptocurrency Platforms

Speaking at a press briefing, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Olayemi Cardoso, expressed concerns about illicit flows through crypto platforms, particularly citing $26 billion passing through Binance Nigeria in the last year alone.

Cardoso revealed that Nigerian authorities, including the anti-corruption agency, police, and national security adviser, are coordinating an investigation into cryptocurrency exchanges. They have demanded a list of Binance’s Nigerian users since its inception.

Despite efforts to reach confirmation from the Head of Strategic Communication, Office of the National Security Adviser, Zakari Mijinyawa, no response was received.

Presidential Aide Accused Cryptocurrency Platform Of Manipulating FX Rate

Presidential spokesman Bayo Onanuga warned about the potential economic damage Binance could inflict if left unchecked, accusing the platform of manipulating foreign exchange rates. Onanuga emphasized the importance of adhering to the official exchange rate set by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

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He urged Nigerians to refrain from patronizing the parallel market for FX rates, emphasizing that the CBN’s website provides the only legal platform for exchange rates.

In conclusion, the detention of Binance executives marks a significant move by the Nigerian government to regulate the cryptocurrency market and safeguard the country’s financial stability.

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