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Binance Cracks Under Pressure, Discontinues Naira Services for Nigerians

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By Jerry Walters - - 5 Mins Read
Nigerian flag and map, Binance logo displayed on a smartphone
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In a shocking turn of events, Binance faces a severe setback as the Nigerian government demands nearly $10 billion from the platform.


The allegations revolve around accusations of Binance manipulating the exchange rate of Nigeria's fiat currency, the naira. 


This move comes amidst growing concerns about the impact of cryptocurrencies on national economies and the legal obligations of foreign companies operating within Nigeria.

Government's Claim: $10 Billion Fine for Exchange Rate Manipulation

Recent local reports suggest that the Nigerian government has officially imposed a staggering $10 billion fine on Binance.


The claim indicates that the crypto exchange manipulated foreign exchange rates, leading to a significant naira devaluation, with reports suggesting a staggering 70% drop.


These allegations have brought Binance under intense scrutiny and cast a shadow on its operations within the Nigerian market.


Nigerian lawmaker Ginger Onwusibe, who chairs the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes, expressed concerns about Binance in response to allegations of potential law violations.


According to the Punch newspaper report, Onwusibe highlighted the constitutional mandate that empowers lawmakers to "protect Nigerians from financial crimes, especially by foreign companies." This places Binance at the center of a legal storm in Nigeria, where regulatory authorities are taking a tough stance on ensuring the financial security of its citizens.

Binance's Reaction: Discontinuation of Naira Services

In what appears to be a response to the Nigerian government's allegations and the reported arrests of several Binance employees, the cryptocurrency exchange has made a significant announcement. 


Binance is set to discontinue all services involving the Nigerian naira (NGN). The move is outlined in a statement released by Binance, urging users to withdraw their NGN funds, trade their NGN assets, or convert NGN into cryptocurrencies before the designated timeline.


Naira and United States Dollar trading chart
Nigerian Naira fell to a record low against the USD | TradingView


Binance specified a timeline for discontinuing its Nigerian naira services. Starting from March 8, 2024, at 08:00 (UTC), all remaining NGN balances in users' Binance accounts will be automatically converted to USDT (Tether) based on a predetermined conversion rate.


This decision impacts users who rely on Binance for trading and investment and raises questions about the future of cryptocurrency exchanges in Nigeria and their ability to operate freely in the face of regulatory pressures.

Bitcoin's Value and Market Impact

At the time of this announcement, Bitcoin's value was notably high, standing at 100,842,650 NGN.


Over the past year, Bitcoin has experienced an impressive surge, witnessing an 800% increase in value when denominated in the Nigerian fiat currency. 


This highlights the growing significance of cryptocurrencies in the Nigerian market and prompts concerns about the potential repercussions of Binance discontinuing its services for the naira.


If naira services are discontinued, a peer-to-peer trading model could become a crucial channel for crypto transactions in Nigeria.


Direct peer-to-peer trading could address regulatory concerns, highlighting the adaptability of crypto exchanges to regulations.

Crypto Regulation in Nigeria: Challenges and Opportunities

The ongoing clash between Binance and the Nigerian government illuminates the broader issue of crypto regulation in the country.


Like many nations, Nigeria is grappling with the task of creating a regulatory framework that ensures the security of its citizens while fostering innovation in the cryptocurrency space. 


The recent events involving Binance show the challenges and opportunities inherent in crafting effective crypto regulations that balance consumer protection with the growth of this dynamic and disruptive industry.