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Binance Announces Termination of Nigerian Naira Operations by March 8

ByDayne Lee

Mar 7, 2024
Binance Announces Termination of Nigerian Naira Operations by March 8

Binance, a leading figure in the global cryptocurrency exchange arena, has declared its imminent departure from the Nigerian market. This move involves a complete halt of services related to the Nigerian Naira (NGN), marking a significant shift in its operations within Nigeria.

Suspension of NGN Transactions

The formal announcement, made on March 5, indicates that Binance will cease NGN withdrawals after March 8. Post this deadline, any NGN holdings in Binance accounts will be automatically converted into Tether (USDT), a widely utilized stablecoin pegged to the US dollar. This conversion aims to mitigate the impact on users’ investments by providing a stable digital asset alternative.

Binance has laid out options for its users ahead of the service discontinuation:

  • Withdraw their NGN balances
  • Trade NGN-based assets for other cryptocurrencies
  • Convert their NGN directly into crypto assets like USDT

The conversion rate for this process will reflect the average closing price of the USDT/NGN trading pair on Binance Spot over the last seven days, ensuring a fair valuation based on recent market activity.

In anticipation of the service halt, Binance also ceased accepting NGN deposits from 2:00 pm UTC on March 5. This preparatory step prevents new NGN transactions that would be subject to the imminent conversion process.

Trading Pair Removals and Payment Adjustments

As part of the broader cessation of NGN services, Binance will remove all trading pairs involving NGN from its platform by March 7. Furthermore, Binance Pay, the exchange’s payment service, will eliminate NGN from its list of supported currencies on March 6, aligning with the overarching strategy to phase out NGN transactions.

Additionally, Binance’s peer-to-peer (P2P) trading platform had preemptively delisted all NGN trading pairs in late February, signaling the commencement of the exchange’s withdrawal from NGN-based activities.

Regulatory Scrutiny and Responses

This withdrawal comes amid escalating regulatory challenges in Nigeria, where Binance has faced accusations of facilitating illicit transactions. The Central Bank of Nigeria’s governor highlighted concerns over crypto exchanges, including Binance, citing “suspicious flows” of funds. These suspicions culminated in the Nigerian National Security Adviser’s actions against Binance executives, including passport confiscations, further intensifying the scrutiny on Binance’s operations within the country.

The Nigerian House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes has summoned Binance CEO Richard Teng, setting a firm deadline for his appearance to address these allegations, thus underscoring the seriousness of the regulatory concerns.

Nigeria’s Crypto Landscape

Despite regulatory hurdles, Nigeria’s engagement with cryptocurrencies has been robust, with significant growth in crypto adoption observed over recent years. Chainalysis ranked Nigeria second globally in cryptocurrency adoption in September 2023, while Google search trends in August 2022 positioned Nigeria as the most crypto-engaged country worldwide. This burgeoning interest contrasts sharply with regulatory attitudes, exemplified by a presidential adviser’s call for a ban on major crypto trading platforms, including Binance and KuCoin, in February 2024. This proposed ban follows the Central Bank of Nigeria’s 2022 directive to regulated financial institutions, barring them from servicing crypto exchanges.

Binance’s decision to exit the Nigerian market and discontinue NGN transactions by March 8 reflects a complex interplay between burgeoning crypto adoption among the Nigerian populace and stringent regulatory measures. As Binance navigates this challenging landscape, the move away from NGN transactions signifies a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s crypto narrative, highlighting the delicate balance between innovation and regulation in the burgeoning field of digital currencies.

The broader implications of this exit for Nigeria’s crypto economy and Binance’s operations in other jurisdictions remain to be seen, as the global crypto community closely watches the evolving regulatory frameworks and their impact on crypto exchanges and users alike.

Featured image credit: peeterv via iStock

Dayne Lee

With a foundation in financial day trading, I transitioned to my current role as an editor, where I prioritize accuracy and reader engagement in our content. I excel in collaborating with writers to ensure top-quality news coverage. This shift from finance to journalism has been both challenging and rewarding, driving my commitment to editorial excellence.