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HomeLaw & PoliticsNigerian Presidential Adviser Calls for Ban on Binance and Other Crypto Platforms

Nigerian Presidential Adviser Calls for Ban on Binance and Other Crypto Platforms

Bayo Onanuga, an adviser to Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, has sparked controversy by calling for a ban on prominent cryptocurrency trading platforms such as Binance and KuCoin, alleging they are manipulating the Nigerian naira and contributing to its decline in the forex market. Onanuga’s statements, made on the X social media platform, come amid rumors that the Nigerian government is contemplating such a ban.

In a post titled “The Naira-Dollar Manipulators,” Onanuga criticized Nigerian traders on Binance for unpatriotic behavior and urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to shut down the operations of cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. He warned, “Crypto should be banned in our country, or else this bleeding of our currency will continue unabated.”

Onanuga also highlighted Binance’s regulatory challenges in various countries, questioning its authority to influence the naira’s valuation on its platform. In response to these allegations, Binance issued a statement on February 22, clarifying that its platform operates on market-driven principles and does not aim to serve as a benchmark for currency pricing in Nigeria.

Amid these developments, Nigerian cryptocurrency users reported difficulties accessing several exchange websites, including Binance and OctaFX, on the evening of February 21, fueling speculation about a potential government crackdown on crypto platforms. Binance addressed these concerns in an email to its users, stating that it was aware of the access issues, which only affected its online platform, not the app. The exchange reassured users of its commitment to engaging with regulators to navigate the evolving cryptocurrency landscape in Nigeria.

Furthermore, Binance introduced a cap on the selling price of Tether (USDT) on its peer-to-peer (P2P) platform, preventing traders from selling USDT above 1,802 naira per token. This move, initially met with speculation from the local crypto community, was explained by Binance as an automatic system response, not a deliberate pricing strategy.

Nigeria, recognized as the world’s largest P2P cryptocurrency market, saw a surge in P2P transactions following the CBN’s 2021 ban on financial institutions engaging in crypto transactions. However, a December 2023 circular signaled a potential shift in policy by allowing Nigerian banks to facilitate cryptocurrency transactions again.

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