Nigerian Govt Demands $10 Billion from Binance in Crypto Crackdown



The Nigerian government is embroiled in a tense standoff with cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance, demanding a hefty $10 billion as retribution for alleged “illegal transactions” facilitated through the platform. This move comes amidst a wider crackdown on cryptocurrencies in Nigeria, driven by concerns over their impact on the nation’s struggling economy and financial stability.

The accusation against Binance was levied by Bayo Onanuga, special adviser on information and strategy to President Bola Tinubu, during a BBC interview on Friday morning. Mr. Onanuga claims that Binance profited significantly from these “illegal transactions” while Nigeria incurred substantial losses, though the specific nature of these transactions remains unclear.

This demand for financial retribution marks a significant escalation in the Nigerian government’s efforts to regulate the cryptocurrency sector. Earlier last week, the Nigerian telecommunications regulator ordered telecom companies to block access to several cryptocurrency trading websites, effectively barring Nigerians from using those platforms. Binance, however, was not initially included in this ban.

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The Nigerian government’s stance against cryptocurrencies stems from concerns about their potential to destabilize the country’s already fragile financial system. The naira, Nigeria’s national currency, has been facing significant depreciation in recent years, and the government is worried that cryptocurrencies could further weaken its value by facilitating capital flight and undermining central bank control over monetary policy.

Furthermore, the anonymity associated with some cryptocurrency transactions raises concerns about money laundering and financing of criminal activities. The Nigerian government is likely seeking to exert greater control over the financial sector and potentially obtain information about Binance’s Nigerian users to address these concerns.

However, Binance has yet to respond publicly to the Nigerian government’s accusations and demands. The situation remains fluid, and it is unclear how this dispute will be resolved. It is important to note that these are just the initial claims made by the Nigerian government, and a thorough investigation would be necessary to substantiate the accusations and determine the appropriate course of action.

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