FX Crisis: Nigeria Mulls Ban on Binance, Other Crypto Firms

February 21, 2024

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria is considering blocking the online platforms of Binance and other crypto firms in the latest string of unorthodox measures to address the lingering foreign exchange (FX) crisis in the country, which has made the Naira unattractive to the citizens.

According to Premium Times, officials with knowledge of the policy said this is the next card to be played to halt “the continuous manipulation of the forex market and illicit movement of funds.”

Binance, a digital assets platform, serves as a window for peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions allowing users to sell or buy currencies of their choice.

Business Post reports that the Naira has continued to depreciate in the forex market segments, especially in the unregulated windows, including the P2P, where it traded at N1,802/$1 on Tuesday.

Now, the government has decided to move against Binance and other crypto firms following reports that currency speculators and money launderers were using them to execute criminal activities.

Recall that yesterday, the government formed a joint task force, made up of leading law enforcement agencies to combat FX speculation and hoarding.

The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) announced on Tuesday that it was joining forces with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and others to clamp down on currency speculators and economic saboteurs.

The Head of Strategic Communication at ONSA, Mr Zakari Mijinyawa, hinted in his Tuesday statement that individuals and organisations involved in wrongful activities in Nigeria’s Forex market would be identified, investigated and penalised.

“Recent intelligence reports have highlighted continued illicit activities within the Nigerian foreign exchange market, the ONSA and CBN are therefore embarking on this collaborative approach to tackle these infractions.

“This partnership will involve a coordinated effort with key law enforcement agencies, including the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU),” a statement said.

“By leveraging the expertise of these agencies, we aim to deter malicious practices, protect investor interests, and promote sustainable economic growth,” it added.

Going after these firms is not a novel approach as the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari and his CBN helmsman, Mr Godwin Emefiele attempted to arrest the rates.

Many account holders involved in Binance P2P exchanges have had their accounts closed.

On Monday, the EFCC shot and disrupted the trading activities of street traders in Abuja, however, this did nothing to halt the fall of the exchange rate.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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