Nigeria Refutes Alleged $10B Fine on Binance

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Nigeria has officially denied recent reports suggesting a $10 billion fine imposed on the cryptocurrency exchange Binance.

Bayo Onanuga, a Special Adviser to the Nigerian president on information and strategy, refuted the claims, stating that the information reported by the BBC pidgin news was the result of a misquote.

Clarification on Binance Sanctions Misconception

Speaking on the controversial sanction on Binance, Onanuga, as reported by the People’s Gazette, clarified that his remarks were misconstrued, stressing that a final decision on imposing a fine on Binance has not been reached.

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He clarified that he did not affirm Binance’s awareness of any fines or specify a $10 billion amount, underscoring that the potential for a fine was discussed but remains undecided. Bayo Onanuga had been vocal against the operations of Binance, calling on the government to impose a ban on its activities in Nigeria.

Binance Responds Amid Regulatory Scrutiny

Meanwhile, Binance, the popular cryptocurrency exchange, reportedly expressed its lack of awareness and information about the purported $10 billion penalty, indicating its unwillingness to engage in negotiations with the Nigerian government regarding such fines.

In reaction to the regulatory measures, Binance has opted to remove the naira from its peer-to-peer (P2P) service effective February 28. The P2P functionality, which enables direct user-to-user trading, surged in popularity in Nigeria in 2021 following the prohibition of the flourishing crypto sector under former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

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Nigeria’s Apex Bank Worries Over Binance Activities

Nigeria has intensified its monitoring of Binance, as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) voiced worries regarding “suspicious transactions” conducted through the exchange’s Nigerian branch in 2023. CBN Governor Olayemi Cardoso pointed out that $26 billion flowed through Binance in Nigeria during 2023, originating from undisclosed sources and users.

In an effort to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges, the National Security Adviser’s office reportedly detained two senior Binance officials in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. The move has sparked reactions from the Binance community in Nigeria with some persons condemning the action.

A data analyst on X, with the handle @kunmydrey expressed shock at the claims that “Binance is causing the Dollar’s inflation.”

In December 2023, Nigeria experienced changes in regulatory policy, notably the CBN’s decision to lift a two-year ban on banks participating in crypto transactions. Additionally, the CBN introduced guidelines for overseeing virtual asset service providers.

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