Binance exit sparks fears and opportunities in Nigeria’s crypto community

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According to local crypto stakeholder Nathaniel Luz, Nigeria’s crypto ecosystem will see the rise of new crypto exchanges that will fill the vacuum created by Binance’s exit.

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Binance exit sparks fears and opportunities in Nigeria’s crypto community

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Local cryptocurrency stakeholders have lamented the current ban on Binance naira operations in Nigeria, stating it will affect the livelihoods of many Nigerians and could increase youth unemployment in the country.

In separate interviews with Cointelegraph, local crypto stakeholders said the delisting of Nigerian naira-related services from Binance will lead to the rise of new crypto exchanges, which will fill the vacuum created by Binance’s exit by complying with local regulations.

Nathaniel Luz, the CEO of Flincap — a liquidity platform for crypto exchanges — said that several Nigerian traders who make a living from trading peer-to-peer on Binance are now affected. However, Luz said that some are trading on WhatsApp and Telegram groups.

According to the chief marketing officer of Flincap, Oladotun Wilfred Akangbe, the continuing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulation in Nigeria and the decision to halt Binance operations can undermine the confidence of many people in the space. He added that it could lead to massive fear, uncertainty and doubt in Nigeria’s crypto space.

In an official statement on its website, Binance said it would automatically convert naira balances to Tether (USDT) from March 8 at 8:00 am UTC and cease support for naira deposits from March 5 at 2:00 pm.

Withdrawals have not been allowed since March 8 at 6:00 am, and the conversion rate is 1 USDT for 1,515.13 naira. Binance’s peer-to-peer platform delisted all naira trading pairs in late February.

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On Feb. 27, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria argued that crypto exchanges in Nigeria were suspected of handling illicit transactions, pointing to “suspicious flows” of funds at Binance.

As the suspicions of Binance’s alleged illicit operations in Nigeria intensified, the Nigerian House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes called Binance CEO Richard Teng to appear before the committee before March 4.

In 2023, Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission stated that Binance Nigeria wasn’t registered or regulated by it, making its operations in Nigeria illegal. In December 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria reversed its stance on crypto assets, advising banks to ignore the previous ban on crypto transactions.

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