Binance, facing challenges, once more halts Nigerian Naira transactions

Amidst heightened regulatory scrutiny, Binance is permanently stopping Nigerian Naira deposits and withdrawals. This move comes into effect today for deposits and March 8, 2024 for withdrawals.

In the face of heightened regulatory scrutiny in Nigeria, global cryptocurrency exchange Binance is temporarily discontinuing Nigerian Naira deposits and withdrawals, effective today, March 5, 2024 for deposits and March 8, 2024 for withdrawals.

This decision follows a suspension of Naira trading against Bitcoin and Tether (USDT) on the platform two weeks ago. As per a company statement, any remaining Naira balances in user accounts will be automatically converted to USDT at a rate of ₦1515 per Tether.

Binance is taking additional measures beyond suspending Naira deposits and withdrawals. They will also delist all existing Naira spot trading pairs on March 7, meaning users won’t be able to directly trade Naira for other cryptocurrencies on the platform. Additionally, the Naira will be removed from Binance Pay on March 6, preventing users from using it for any transactions through the exchange’s payment solution.

Recently, Nigeria’s central bank governor raised concerns about Binance Nigeria handling $26 billion in transactions over the past year, with the source of these funds remaining unclear. The bank has since instructed the country’s telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, to restrict access to cryptocurrency websites like Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken.

“We aim to chart a good relationship with the government and the people of Nigeria. We want to see our services restored in Nigeria very soon,” the crypto exchange said in a statement.

Last week, Bayo Onanuga, a special adviser to the Nigerian president on information and strategy told BBC that “[The Nigerian] Government is asking for small money from them [referring to Binance]. We are asking them to pay us close to $10 billion in retribution because it really messed up our economy in a short time.” Onanuga later clarified the statement was misconstrued.

Two Binance executives are currently detained by authorities, and national legislators have summoned Richard Teng, CEO of Binance to appear before the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes.

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