Barely two weeks after Nigeria’s change of government, the country’s market regulator has declared the operations of embattled cryptocurrency exchange Binance illegal in the country. The declaration came in a June 9 statement from Nigeria’s SEC, following the country’s traditional anti-cryptocurrency stance.
According to the SEC statement, Binance neither has the necessary regulation nor registration to operate as a valid ‘crypto-asset’ service provider in the country, making all of its operations illegal. It further warned the company to stop soliciting Nigerian investors while also clarifying that any Nigerian doing business with the world’s largest crypto exchange is doing so at their own risk.
Nigerian regulators bearish on crypto; citizens bullish
Cryptocurrencies and crypto exchanges have never enjoyed the Nigerian government’s support, as the country’s central bank announced a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies and related digital assets in 2021. Nigeria went on to create its official CBDC before publishing regulations for crypto assets, undecided as to whether to ban digital assets or regulate them.
However, going after individual crypto exchange operators wasn’t part of the government’s anti-crypto strategy until the SEC statement on Friday. Since the circular coincided with a recent change of government, Nigerians may want to manage their expectations about the new administration’s cryptocurrency policies.
However, it doesn’t seem like Nigerians care about their government’s stance on crypto, as the country remains Africa’s largest cryptocurrency adopter by market cap. If a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies and crypto assets by the Central Bank of Nigeria can’t stop Nigerians from holding coins, a warning from the SEC likely won’t.
Yet another challenge for embattled Binance
Binance has had it rough over the past few months, facing multiple lawsuits in the United States, payment provider issues in Australia, and exile in Canada. With the size and potential of the Nigerian cryptocurrency market, Binance will try to overturn this restriction, adding to its long list of woes.