Showing posts with label Cryptocurrency. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cryptocurrency. Show all posts

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Nigeria rejects Binance CEO's bribery claim

Nigerian authorities on Wednesday denied allegations from Binance's CEO of soliciting bribes, saying the claim was a "diversionary tactic" and an "act of blackmail" aimed at undermining ongoing criminal charges against the company.

Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange, and two of its executives face separate trials on charges of tax evasion and laundering more than $35 million, which the company is challenging.

Tigran Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and Binance's head of financial crime compliance, remains in custody while British-Kenyan Nadeem Anjarwalla has fled the country.

CEO Richard Teng in a blog post accused unidentified Nigerian officials of demanding a $150 million cryptocurrency bribe to halt the investigations.


In a statement on Wednesday, Nigeria's Information Ministry spokesperson Rabiu Ibrahim said the claims "lack any iota of substance". He accused Binance of attempting to undermine the country's legal proceedings.

"It is nothing but a diversionary tactic and an attempted act of blackmail by a company desperate to obfuscate the grievous criminal charges it is facing in Nigeria," Ibrahim said.

"The facts of this matter remain that Binance is being investigated in Nigeria for allowing its platform to be used for money laundering, terrorism financing, and foreign exchange manipulation through illegal trading," he said.

Nigerian authorities claim the bribery allegations are part of a wider campaign by Binance to discredit investigations against the company, citing similar legal troubles in the United States.

Binance did not immediately comment, but in a statement on Tuesday accused Nigeria of setting a dangerous precedent after its executives were invited for talks and then detained as part of a crackdown on the crypto industry.

Teng's blog is the latest in a dispute that has already seen Binance close in Nigeria.


Nigeria blamed Binance for its currency problems after cryptocurrency websites emerged as platforms of choice for trading the Nigerian naira as the country grappled with chronic dollar shortages.

Binance said in early March it was stopping all transactions and trading in naira.

By Camillus Eboh, Reuters

Related story: Bail Hearing in Nigeria for Jailed Binance Exec Postponed Until May 17

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Nigeria to Ban Person-to-Person Crypto Trade in Battered Naira

Nigeria vowed to ban person-to-person cryptocurrency trading in the naira, taking its latest step to corral an industry which the West African nation blames for harming the battered local currency.


Securities and Exchange Commission Director General Emomotimi Agama also told a meeting with fintech professionals on Monday that new rules would be rolled out “in the coming days” covering crypto exchanges, digital asset custodians and other corners of the sector.

“The thing that needs to be done is delisting the naira from the P2P space in order to avoid the level of manipulation that is currently happening,” Agama said. “Recent concerns regarding crypto P2P traders and their perceived impact on the exchange rate of the naira has underscored the need for collective action,” he said in a statement released by the Abuja-based SEC on Monday evening.

Peer-to-peer platforms allow crypto investors to trade directly with one another, rather than via a central intermediary. In such transactions, the traders themselves negotiate the price.

The warning follows Nigeria’s ban on Binance Holdings Ltd., the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, and the arrest of two of its executives when they visited the country in February.

One of them fled but the other, Tigran Gambaryan, has been jailed at the Kuje correctional center in Abuja and will go on trial this month where he faces charges of tax evasion, currency speculation and money laundering.

“Manipulations and all forms of activities that undermine our national interest would not be acceptable,” Agama said.

Africa’s most populous nation has seen residents flock into crypto assets as a hedge for weakness in the naira, which has lost 65% of its value against the dollar since the government eased currency rules in June to make the unit more attractive to foreign investors.

Central bank Governor Olayemi Cardoso in February accused Binance of allowing illicit transactions in the naira on its platform, which the authorities subsequently blocked.

“SEC will not hesitate to utilize all the powers within its mandate to handle issues that are negative and pose a threat to national interest,” Agama said. “We ask that those involved in sharp practices that undermine national interest should cease and desist.”

By Emele Onu, Bloomberg 

Related story: Video - Detained Binance executive appears in court in Nigeria for tax, money laundry charges

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Bail Hearing in Nigeria for Jailed Binance Exec Postponed Until May 17

Detained Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan will remain in prison in Nigeria until at least May 17, following an Abuja court’s ruling to postpone a scheduled bail hearing until after he is tried on money laundering charges.

Gambaryan, an American citizen and former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) special agent, is Binance’s head of financial crime compliance. He and a colleague, Binance’s regional manager for Africa Nadeem Anjarwalla, a dual U.K.-Kenyan national, were arrested and detained on Feb. 26 after flying to Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja to meet with the Nigerian government at the government’s request.

The Nigerian government had previously accused Binance of enabling currency speculation that crashed its currency, the naira. At first, Nigerian officials denied that Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were under arrest, but the pair were put under house arrest upon arrival and, along with Binance, charged with money laundering and tax evasion a month later.

Gambaryan was moved to the notorious Kuje prison – which also houses suspected members of the Boko Haram terrorist group – after Anjarwalla escaped and fled the country under mysterious circumstances. In a cell phone video filmed after Anjarwalla’s escape on March 23, a distressed Gambaryan said he had no knowledge of his colleague’s escape plans and asked the U.S. government for help.

The government’s response to Gambaryan’s imprisonment has been tepid. According to his family, Gambaryan has received only one visit from the U.S. embassy staff since being moved to Kuje prison and has limited access to his legal team.

“There is no justice in what is being done to my husband. I am in a constant state of grief and anxiety, not knowing what other injustice he is going to be put through,” Gambaryan’s wife Yuki Gambaryan said in a statement. “It is outrageous that Tigran, an innocent man, continues to be kept in a prison cell and the ruling on his bail will not be made until after the trial starts…This is just pure cruelty.”

Both Gambaryan and Anjarwalla have filed suit against Nigeria’s National Security Advisor, Nuhu Ribadu, and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission for violating their human rights.

Gambaryan has pleaded “not guilty” to all of the charges against him, which his family has called “bogus.”

The money laundering trial against Gambaryan and Binance will begin on May 2. The tax evasion charges will be tried separately beginning on May 17.

According to Gambaryan’s family, he will spend his 40th birthday in prison.

By Cheyenne Ligon, CoinDesk

Related story: Video - Detained Binance executive appears in court in Nigeria for tax, money laundry charges

Friday, April 5, 2024

Video - Detained Binance executive appears in court in Nigeria for tax, money laundry charges




One of the two executives from Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, detained in Nigeria appeared in an Abuja court on Thursday to face tax evasion and money laundering charges.

Binance and two of its executives Tigran Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and Binance's head of financial crime compliance, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan who is a regional manager for Africa, have been charged with four counts of tax evasion and with laundering over $35 million.

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were detained on Feb. 26 in connection with a criminal investigation into Binance's activities in Nigeria when they arrived in the country. Anjarwalla escaped from custody and fled the country.

Gambaryan was served with the charges for the first time since his detention during his court appearance and did not take a plea. He will be formally arraigned for the money laundering and tax charges on April 8 and 19, respectively, when his plea will be taken.

Binance itself has not been charged by Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which has argued Gambaryan could face the charges on the exchange's behalf.

Gambaryan's lawyer Chukwuka Ikuazom objected, saying he was "neither a director, partner nor company secretary" and had no written instructions from Binance to face the charges on its behalf.

Ikuazom also argued that since Binance and Gambaryan were jointly charged, he could not take a plea until the exchange, the first defendant in the case, had been served, according to Nigerian law.

Binance, which was not represented in court and had no immediate comment, said on Wednesday that it respectfully requested that Gambaryan, who had no decision-making power in the company, was not held responsible while discussions are ongoing with the Nigerian government.

Gambaryan has asked a Nigerian court to release him.

Nigeria blamed Binance for its currency woes after cryptocurrency websites emerged as platforms of choice for trading the Nigerian naira currency, as the country grappled with chronic dollar shortages. 

By Camillus Eboh, Reuters 

Related stories: Detained Binance executives sue Nigeria's security adviser, anti-graft agency

Detained Binance executive escapes detention in Nigeria amidst probe

Video - Nigeria detains Binance executives

Friday, March 29, 2024

Detained Binance executives sue Nigeria's security adviser, anti-graft agency

Two executives from Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, have sued Nigeria's national security adviser's office and the anti-graft agency for violating their fundamental rights and asked the court to set them free.

Tigran Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and Binance's head of financial crime compliance, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan who is Binance's regional manager for Africa, flew to Nigeria following the country's decision to ban several cryptocurrency trading websites and were detained on arrival on Feb. 26.

Anjarwalla fled the country last week and now faces the prospect of an international arrest warrant.
On Thursday, Gambaryan appeared in a Federal High Court in the capital Abuja requesting Judge Iyang Ekwo declare his detention and seizure of his passport by the National Security Adviser and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) "amounts to a violation of his fundamental right to personal liberty" as guaranteed by Nigeria's constitution.

The executives, who said they had not been informed of any offences committed, requested an order to release them and return their passports, a public apology and a restraining order from further detention.

The judge adjourned the hearing to April 8 without making a ruling because lawyers for the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the EFCC were not in court.

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were caught up in a crackdown following a period during which several cryptocurrency websites emerged as platforms of choice for trading the Nigerian currency, as the country battles a chronic dollar shortages. 

By Camillus Eboh, Reuters 

Related stories: Court in Nigeria Orders Binance to Relinquish Data of All Nigerians Trading on its Platform

Video - Nigeria detains Binance executives

Detained Binance executive escapes detention in Nigeria amidst probe


Monday, March 25, 2024

Detained Binance executive escapes detention in Nigeria amidst probe

 Nadeem Anjarwalla, one of the two Binance executives detained in Nigeria has reportedly escaped from lawful custody, according to sources.

These sources revealed that Anjarwalla, aged 38, escaped on Friday, March 22nd, from the Abuja guest house where he and his colleague were being detained, Premium Times reported.

Guards on duty escorted him to a nearby mosque for prayers as part of the ongoing Ramadan fast.

The British national, who also holds Kenyan citizenship, is believed to have departed Abuja via a Middle Eastern airline.

The circumstances surrounding how Anjarwalla managed to board an international flight despite being in custody and his British passport being held by Nigerian authorities remain unclear.

Authorities are reportedly working to uncover Anjarwalla's intended destination to apprehend him and return him to custody.

According to an Immigration official, the Binance executive fled Nigeria using a Kenyan passport. However, authorities are trying to ascertain how he acquired this passport, as he did not possess any other travel documents apart from his British passport when he was detained.

Before now, WIRED reported that Anjarwalla fell ill while in custody, possibly due to malaria, although the precise nature of his symptoms was unclear.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance's regional manager for Africa, along with Tigran Gambaryan, Binance's head of financial crime compliance and a U.S. citizen had travelled to Nigeria after the country banned several cryptocurrency trading websites to halt what the CBN described as continuous manipulation of the forex market and illicit movement of funds.

Upon their arrival on February 26, they were arrested by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), and criminal charges were filed against the two executives.

Binance was instructed to provide the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with detailed data and information regarding all Nigerian traders on its platform.

According to Yemi Cardoso, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), over $26 billion passed through Binance Nigeria from unknown sources. The government even hit the exchange with a $10 billion fine amidst a crypto exchange probe.

On February 28, 2024, the court granted the EFCC an order to remand the duo for 14 days. Due to Binance’s refusal to comply with the order, the court extended the remand of the officials for an additional 14 days to prevent them from tampering with evidence. The court then adjourned the case till 4 April 2024.

By Adekunle Agbetiloye, Business Insider Africa

Related stories: Nigeria files tax evasion charges against Binance

Court in Nigeria Orders Binance to Relinquish Data of All Nigerians Trading on its Platform

Video - Nigeria detains Binance executives

Nigeria files tax evasion charges against Binance

Nigeria's tax agency has filed tax evasion charges against crypto platform Binance, it said in a statement on Monday.

The cased filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in Abuja accuses Binance of four counts of tax evasion.

Binance was not immediately available to comment.

The charges include non-payment of value-added tax (VAT), company income tax, failure to file tax returns, and complicity in aiding customers to evade taxes through its platform, the FIRS said.

By Camillus Eboh, Reuters

Related stories: Court in Nigeria Orders Binance to Relinquish Data of All Nigerians Trading on its Platform

Video - Nigeria detains Binance executives

 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Court in Nigeria Orders Binance to Relinquish Data of All Nigerians Trading on its Platform

The interim order comes after an earlier report that Nigeria wanted Binance to give information regarding its top 100 users in the nation and all transaction history spanning the past six months.

A Nigerian court has ordered Binance to provide Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with comprehensive information on all persons from the nation trading on its platform, according to a report by the local news outlet Peoples Gazette.

The interim order comes after an earlier report that Nigeria had asked the crypto exchange to hand over the information regarding its top 100 users in the country and all transaction history spanning the past six months. But Justice Emeka Nwite from the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court appears to have granted the motion of EFCC’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho which sought information on any Nigerian trading on Binance.

The EFCC is Nigeria’s law enforcement agency that investigates financial crimes.

“The applicant’s application dated and filed February 29, 2024, is hereby granted as prayed. That an order of this honorable court is hereby made directing the operators of Binance to provide the commission with comprehensive data/information relating to all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform,” the judge ordered, the report said.

Nigeria has taken action against the crypto industry for allegedly facilitating illegal capital outflows, which purportedly led to the Nigerian naira weakening to record lows against the dollar. The nation’s authorities have taken a particular interest in Binance’s operations, demanding $10 billion in penalties for enabling some $26 billion of untraceable funds.

Nigerian authorities also detained two of Binance’s senior executives after inviting them into the country to discuss the matter. The court hearing of the two detained Binance executives is scheduled for Wednesday, Reuters reported. Nigerian authorities have also proposed a 400% increase in registration fees for crypto firms.

Binance and the EFCC did not immediately respond to CoinDesk’s request for comment. 

By Amitoj Singh, CoinDesk

Related stories: Nigeria demands Binance disclose top users, executives remain detained

Video - Nigeria detains Binance executives

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Nigeria demands Binance disclose top users, executives remain detained

Nigeria is actively seeking information from Binance regarding its top 100 users in the country and all transaction history spanning the past six months, according to a Financial Times report.

This news overlaps with the revelation of the names of the two executives from the cryptocurrency exchange who were detained two weeks ago: Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s head of investigations, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, the crypto platform’s regional manager for Africa, the Wired reported Tuesday.

Last month, Gambaryan, who was a former crypto-focused U.S. federal agent, and Anjarwalla had their passports confiscated and have been held in confinement at a government facility in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. Their detainment is part of Nigeria’s broader crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges, coinciding with questionable efforts by the government to revive the naira, the country’s national currency.

Before their detention, Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen, and Anjarwalla, a dual citizen of the U.K. and Kenya, responded to an invitation from the Nigerian government to discuss Binance operations and the restrictions imposed on the cryptocurrency exchange.

Nigeria’s central bank had expressed concerns about the loss of tax revenue from unregistered crypto exchanges. Additionally, it accused Binance of operating illegally and facilitating “illicit flows from sources and users who we cannot adequately identify,” amounting to $26 billion. As a result, the detained executives may face charges related to currency manipulation, tax evasion and illegal operations, per a Bloomberg report.

However, according to their families, none of the executives have been formally charged with any criminal offenses as of Tuesday. The Financial Times reports that Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency was granted permission to detain both Binance executives for 14 days, which concluded on Tuesday. A proposed hearing to extend the court order is scheduled for Wednesday.

In response to this heightened regulatory scrutiny and contentious negotiation tactics in Nigeria, Binance discontinued its naira (NGN) services last week.

Nigeria’s request for Binance’s top users in the country is the new focal point in negotiations between the largest crypto platform and Africa’s top crypto market. Just last week, local reports claimed that Nigeria’s parliament threatened to issue a warrant of arrest for the company’s executives and summoned Binance CEO Richard Teng to provide explanations regarding investigations into the company’s alleged involvement in money laundering and terror financing.

Meanwhile, documents reviewed by FT reveal that Nigeria, through its national security adviser, has requested that Binance address any outstanding tax liabilities.

By Tage Kene-Okafor, TechCrunch

Related stories: Nigeria plans clampdown on Binance, other crypto firms

Nigeria detains Binance executives in cryptocurrency crackdown

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Binance to halt naira services amid ongoing regulatory probe in Nigeria

Binance will discontinue its naira (NGN) services in response to heightened regulatory scrutiny in Nigeria, it said in a blog post today. The cryptocurrency exchange will begin delisting any existing NGN spot trading pairs by Thursday, March 7. It advised users to withdraw, trade, or convert their NGN assets into crypto before the service discontinuation. Any remaining NGN balances in users' spot and funding wallets will be converted to USDT on Friday, March 8, it noted.

By Wednesday, March 6, Binance will also delist NGN services on its auto-invest tool and remove the currency from the list of supported payment options on Binance Pay.

This development follows recent regulatory actions by the Nigerian government, which imposed restrictions on both local and foreign cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance. As a result, users have encountered accessibility challenges on the Binance website.

Last week, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the country's apex bank, said Nigeria was losing out on taxes from unregistered crypto exchanges and accused Binance of facilitating "illicit flows from sources and users who we cannot adequately identify" to the tune of $26 billion.

What followed was the reported detention of two Binance officials after they were invited to Nigeria to discuss the regulatory restrictions. According to Bloomberg, the officials were held because Binance was operating illegally in Nigeria. The detained officials may allegedly face charges related to currency manipulation, tax evasion, and illegal operations, although formal charges have not yet been filed.

Several reports indicate that the Nigerian government, alleging Binance's involvement in manipulating foreign exchange rates through currency speculation and rate fixing, intensified its scrutiny of the platform by requesting nearly $10 billion in compensation. However, both Nigeria and Binance have refuted these claims regarding the fine.

The ongoing legal dispute between the world's largest crypto platform and Africa's top crypto market is still unresolved. Recently, Nigeria's parliament exacerbated the situation by threatening to issue a warrant of arrest for the company’s executives. Furthermore, they summoned Binance CEO Richard Teng to provide explanations regarding investigations into alleged involvement in money laundering and terror financing, as reported by local sources.

By Tage Kene-Okafor, TechCrunch

Related stories: Nigeria Summons Binance CEO Over Alleged Terror Financing

Video - Nigeria detains Binance executives

Monday, March 4, 2024

Nigeria Summons Binance CEO Over Alleged Terror Financing

Binance troubles in Nigeria take yet another turn. After authorities blocked the exchange’s website, shut down its P2P marketplace, and detained two of its executives, the government is now looking to summon Binance’s CEO, Richard Teng, over allegations of terror financing and money laundering.

Nigeria Issues Ultimatum to Binance

Local news outlet Punch reported that Nigeria’s House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes has issued a seven-day ultimatum to Binance’s CEO to appear before the committee on or before Monday, March 4.

The regulator’s summoning follows recent allegations of suspicious funds flowing through the exchange’s Nigerian arm in 2023. Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Olayemi Cardoso highlighted that $26 billion had passed through Nigeria via Binance in 2023 from unidentified sources and users.

Chairman of the Committee on Financial Crimes, Ginger Onwusibe, warned that the committee will invoke its constitutional powers if Binance’s CEO, Richard Teng, refuses to appear before the court. Despite repeated invitations, Teng has been unwilling to address the Nigerian government’s concerns regarding compliance with its business and financial laws.

Onwusibe emphasized the committee’s commitment to fighting financial crimes, citing the constitutional mandate to protect Nigerians and the country’s finances.

The allegations of terrorism financing, money laundering, and tax evasion, amongst others, leveled against Binance are damning enough. At this material time, we need all the tax dollars to block the leaks and channels to financing terror.” he added.

Onwusibe concluded by urging Binance to fulfill its obligations, including paying taxes and establishing a physical office for citizen complaints.

Why This Matters

Binance has been under intense scrutiny over the last year from regulators worldwide. Its regulatory woes in Nigeria could further complicate its operations and raise questions about its compliance.

By Insha Zia, DAILYCOIN

Related stories: Nigeria demands $10 billion from Binance in damages

Nigeria detains Binance executives in cryptocurrency crackdown

Nigeria plans clampdown on Binance, other crypto firms

Friday, March 1, 2024

Video - Nigeria detains Binance executives



Two senior executives of Binance flew to Nigeria following the country's decision to ban several cryptocurrency trading websites. But they were detained by the office of the country's national security adviser and their passports were seized following their arrival in the country.

CGTN

Related stories: Nigeria demands $10 billion from Binance in damages

Nigeria detains Binance executives in cryptocurrency crackdown

Nigeria plans clampdown on Binance, other crypto firms

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Nigeria detains Binance executives in cryptocurrency crackdown

Two senior executives at Binance have been detained in Nigeria as the country cracks down on cryptocurrency exchanges, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The executives flew to Nigeria following the country's decision to ban several cryptocurrency trading websites last week but they were detained by the office of the country's national security adviser and their passports seized.

Binance did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The crackdown follows a period after several cryptocurrency websites emerged as platforms of choice for trading the Nigerian currency, which has suffered chronic dollar shortages.

The naira's official exchange rate has been trading at levels close to the parallel market level after the currency was devalued last month, its second adjustment in less than a year.

Africa's largest economy has been experiencing crippling dollar shortages that have pushed its currency to record lows after foreign investors fled following a previous oil price collapse and introduction of capital controls in 2015.

Reuters

Related story: Nigeria plans clampdown on Binance, other crypto firms

 

 


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Nigeria plans clampdown on Binance, other crypto firms

The Nigerian government is considering blocking the online platforms of Binance and other crypto firms to avert what it considers continuous manipulation of the forex market and illicit movement of funds, officials with knowledge of the policy option have told PREMIUM TIMES.

The recent unprecedented weakening of the Nigerian currency has seen the naira falling to all-time low of N1,800 to a dollar in the parallel market.

Presidency and regulatory sources say the government decided to move against Binance and other crypto firms following reports that currency speculators and money launderers were using them to execute criminal activities. Authorities believe the ‘criminal activities’ going on on platforms are contributing significantly to the weakening of the naira.

Binance, a digital assets platform, serves as a window for peer to peer transaction allowing users to advertise interest to sell or buy currencies of their choice.

In September 2023, Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) placed a disclaimer on Binance Nigeria Limited, saying the platform was “neither registered nor regulated by the Commission and its operations in Nigeria are therefore illegal”.

Despite the warning by the regulatory agency, the firm continued its operation, attracting huge patronage especially among urban youths and suspected speculators and money launderers.

Aside suspicions of economic sabotage, officials also speak of national security concerns as the platforms are often patronised by other criminal groups including for payment of ransom.

Law enforcement sources say the digital asset platforms are also routinely deployed for manipulation of forex values through fake deals that serve to prop up values or cause a fall.

A source at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) involved in probing criminal complaint against digital asset platforms, who was however not authorised to speak to the press, described the process as a “sophisticated heist against the Nigerian economy”.


According to her, by allowing simultaneous opening of buy and sell windows for a single user, manipulators often fake interest to sell dollars which they then buy at a speculated rate to themselves through the buy window.


“This therefore gives the dollar a fake value against the naira which then sets a frenzy and mislead the market. This fake price is then often quoted by BDCs who raise their prices to meet the Binance benchmark even without any corresponding demand in that segment,” she said.

A senior executive at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) described as “troubling” the bearish downward trade of the naira against the dollar in the last 10 days, attributing it to artificial devaluation caused by the speculative sites.

“Through manipulative rent seeking, Binance’s global reach results in higher USD to NGN exchange rates often being used as a benchmark for currency trading, misleadingly devaluing the Naira in global markets.”

But he added that trading on the platform is encouraged by activities of money-launderers and terrorist financiers “who have no qualms with the arbitrage”.

“We started noticing this sharp trend from February 9, and since then it has caused significant devaluation of the naira against the USD. This is simply criminal,” he said.

Binance has had similar accusations of currency manipulation and unethical conduct leading to sanctions in many countries and an ongoing lawsuit in the United States.

If the government decides to invoke a ban on the digital asset trading site it would be treading the path of countries like Malaysia, France and Malta, among others.

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

The Head of Strategic Communication at ONSA, 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.

Contacted on Thursday night on the planned clampdown on Binance and other crypto firms, Mr Mijinyawa said he was at an “important meeting”. He did not answer or return subsequent calls made to him.

Binance could not be reached Wednesday morning. Multiple calls to a customer service number listed for it rang out unanswered.

By Abdulrahman Abdulmalik, Premium Times

Related story: Video - Central Bank of Nigeria gives guidelines on cryptocurrency

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Video - Central Bank of Nigeria gives guidelines on cryptocurrency



The Central bank in Nigeria has released guidelines for banks opening cryptocurrency accounts after it lifted its ban on crypto assets. However, there are calls for the government to embark on crypto-awareness campaigns among young people as a way to boost the economy. 

CGTN

Related stories: Central Bank of Nigeria Lifts Ban on Crypto Transactions

Video - Nigeria continues to record surge in adoption of cryptocurrencies

 

 

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Central Bank of Nigeria Lifts Ban on Crypto Transactions

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has lifted a ban on transacting in cryptocurrencies.

At the same time, the bank said there is a need to regulate virtual asset service providers (VASPs), including cryptocurrencies and crypto assets, Reuters reported Wednesday (Dec. 27), citing a Friday (Dec. 22) circular issued by the bank.

The CBN imposed a ban on banks and financial institutions dealing in or facilitating transactions in crypto assets in February 2021 due to concerns over money laundering and terrorism financing, according to the report.

However, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria published regulations in May last year that aimed to find a middle ground between an outright ban and unregulated use of crypto assets, the report said.

In its circular dated Dec. 22, the CBN outlined guidelines for banks and financial institutions regarding the opening of accounts, designated settlement accounts, settlement services, and acting as channels for foreign exchange inflows and trade for firms transacting in crypto assets, per the report. The guidelines emphasize the need for VASPs to obtain licensing from the Nigerian SEC to engage in crypto business.

The circular also states that banks are still prohibited from trading, holding or transacting cryptocurrencies, according to the report.

Nigeria has witnessed a surge in cryptocurrency adoption, particularly among its young and tech-savvy population, the report said. Many individuals have turned to peer-to-peer trading offered by crypto exchanges as an alternative to traditional financial services.

The volume of crypto transactions in Nigeria grew by 9% year over year to $56.7 billion between July 2022 and June 2023, per the report, which cited data from blockchain research firm Chainalysis.

It was reported in October 2021 that despite the ban from their country’s central bank, people in Nigeria had turned to cryptocurrency to conduct business, send payments and guard their savings.

In November 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria said that it had no plans to make crypto part of its digital asset trading goals until regulators agree to standards that keep investors safe.

The commission said at the time that it would promote investment in “sensible digital assets,” with investment protection while also looking into blockchain technology to drive virtual and traditional investment products.

PYMNTS

Related stories: Crypto usage growing further in Nigeria

Video - Nigeria continues to record surge in adoption of cryptocurrencies

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Crypto usage growing further in Nigeria

Cryptocurrency usage is growing in Nigeria as Africa's largest economy grapples with a weakening currency and soaring inflation, New York-based blockchain research firm Chainalysis said in a report on Tuesday.


Nigeria's volume of crypto transactions grew 9% year-over-year to $56.7 billion between July 2022 and June 2023. In Uganda, crypto use is smaller but growing fast, rising 245% to $1.6 billion in the same period, while its use in Kenya fell more than a half to $8.4 billion, the report said.

In Nigeria, interest in bitcoin and stablecoins - crypto tokens whose monetary value is pegged to a stable asset to protect from wild volatility - increased when the naira's value plunged, particularly during the most extreme drops in June and July of 2023, Chainalysis said.

The currency weakened to record lows after President Bola Tinubu embarked on some of the boldest reforms that Nigeria has seen in years, including scrapping a popular but costly petrol subsidy and removing some exchange rate restrictions.

"People are constantly looking for opportunities to hedge against the devaluation of the naira and the persistent economic decline since COVID," Moyo Sodipo, co-founder of Nigeria-based cryptocurrency exchange Busha, said in a statement shared with the report.

Nigeria barred its banks and financial institutions from dealing in or facilitating transactions in cryptocurrencies in 2021.

Last year, the country's financial regulator published a set of regulations for digital assets, signalling Africa's most populous country was trying to find a middle ground between an outright ban on crypto assets and their unregulated use.

Nigeria's young, tech-savvy population has eagerly adopted cryptocurrencies, for example using peer-to-peer trading offered by crypto exchanges to avoid the financial sector ban. 

By Anait Miridzhanian, Reuters

Related stories: Video - Nigeria continues to record surge in adoption of cryptocurrencies

Nigeria Seeks to Boost E-Naira Users 10-Fold as Cryptos Grow

Nigerians Are Using Bitcoin to Bypass Trade Hurdles With China

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Video - Nigeria continues to record surge in adoption of cryptocurrencies



Africa's most populous country is still reporting a boom in the use of cryptocurrencies despite warnings from authorities. Nigerians say bottlenecks around banking transactions, a scarcity of foreign exchange, and the belief that cryptocurrencies are an easy and quick means to make money, contribute to crypto's popularity.

CGTN

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