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Nigeria Pressures Binance to Surrender Names of Top 100 Users

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By Erika John - - 5 Mins Read
Smartphone; Nigeria National Flag
Featured Image | Shutterstock

In a controversial move, the Nigerian government is reportedly considering imposing a hefty $10 billion fine on Binance Nigeria P2P, citing the exchange's alleged detrimental effects on the country's economy.

As part of ongoing negotiations with Binance Nigeria, the government has demanded access to the transaction history of the platform's top 100 users in the country over the past six months.

Additionally, the Nigerian national security adviser's office has urged Binance Nigeria to settle any outstanding tax liabilities.

The recent conflict between Binance Nigeria and the Nigerian government arose when Bayo Onanuga, the presidential adviser on information and strategy, accused Binance Nigeria P2P and other cryptocurrency platforms of manipulating the Nigerian naira, resulting in a substantial decrease in the value of the local currency.

Onanuga has even hinted at the possibility of banning platforms like Binance Nigeria P2P in the country and imposing a hefty $10 billion fine in retribution.

“The platform fixes the exchange rate for the country, and it is an illegal rate. The CBN [Central Bank of Nigeria] is the only authority that can fix the exchange rate for the country,” Onanuga stated. 

In response to the government's demands, Binance Nigeria has attempted to initiate a dialogue with Nigerian authorities. However, the situation took a drastic turn when two senior Binance Nigeria P2P executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, were detained by local prosecutors.

This move came despite Binance Nigeria's decision to delist all naira-based features and cease peer-to-peer naira transactions in late February.

Nigeria's Inflation Increases

Nigeria has emerged as a rapidly growing crypto market, becoming the second-largest economy in terms of crypto adoption by 2023. However, the country has faced challenges, including record-high inflation following the abandonment of its currency peg and the introduction of free trading for the naira in June 2023.

A person holds several dollar bills and  a bundle of the Nigerian Naira
Nigerian naira and US dollars | Photo credit: Quartz

By January 2024, Nigeria's consumer inflation had surged for the 13th consecutive month, reaching nearly 30%.

Binance Nigeria refrained from commenting on the specific allegations made by Nigerian authorities.

A spokesperson for Binance Nigeria clarified to Cointelegraph that the exchange had not exited the Nigerian market but had rather discontinued all naira trading pairs and transactions.

Nevertheless, concerns have been raised by some online users regarding Binance Nigeria's ability to cater to users in Nigeria amidst the ongoing dispute.

Users have been lamenting, pouring out their opinions, saying, “If a company ceases NGN related services, it means they’re dusting their hands off Nigeria and anything concerning Nigeria. That you can use it to do other trading activities doesn’t imply they still exist in your country,” a Binance user in Nigeria posted on X.

The standoff between Binance Nigeria P2P and Nigeria continues to intensify, with the government adamant on holding the exchange accountable for its perceived negative impact on the local economy.

The situation remains fluid, with implications for the future of Binance Nigeria's operations in the country.

Stay updated for further developments on the Binance Nigeria app and P2P platform in Nigeria.