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Nigeria Demands Data on Binance’s Top 100 Users Amid Naira Stability Concerns

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Nigerian authorities are urging Binance to provide details about its most prominent 100 users within the nation amidst a continued clampdown on the platform.

The request is a focal point in discussions between Binance and Nigeria, with the government perceiving the exchange as a key obstacle hindering its attempts to strengthen the national currency, the naira.

Nigeria Demands Binance’s Transaction Records

In addition to seeking information on some Binance users, Nigerian authorities have reportedly demanded the exchange to disclose its transaction records for the past six months, as stated in a Financial Times report dated March 13. The office of Nigeria’s national security adviser has also emphasized the need for Binance to address any outstanding tax obligations.

Bayo Onanuga, the presidential adviser on information and strategy, argued that Binance and other cryptocurrency platforms had manipulated the naira, significantly devaluing the local fiat currency. Onanuga also proposed prohibiting platforms like Binance from operating within the country.

In response to Binance’s attempts to engage in dialogue with Nigerian authorities, two senior executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, were reportedly detained by local prosecutors. Notably, the executives remain in custody despite Binance’s decision to delist all naira transactions and halt peer-to-peer naira transactions in late February.

According to Onanuga, Gambaryan, and Anjarwalla, they have been cooperating with Nigerian authorities and providing substantial information, suggesting the possibility of imposing a $10 billion fine on them for allegedly causing severe economic repercussions.

In a response on X, Binance expressed its commitment to fostering responsible crypto growth in Nigeria and reiterated its dedication to assisting its detained employees and their families.

The exchange also revealed in its blog post that its financial crime compliance (FCC) teams have responded to 626 information requests from local law enforcement agencies or related to Nigeria-focused investigations between June 2020 and February 2024, with an average response time of 37.4 hours.

Nigeria Looking to Stabilize the Naira

The detention of Binance executives appears to be part of Nigeria’s broader efforts to stabilize the naira and mitigate currency speculation facilitated by crypto exchanges. Previously, the Nigerian government directed telecom and internet service providers to limit access to several crypto exchanges, including Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken, to address currency depreciation.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has emerged as one of the world’s fastest-growing crypto economies in recent years, ranking as the second-largest crypto adoption in 2023. In August 2022, Nigeria was recognized as the most crypto-enthusiastic country globally, based on the volume of Google searches related to “cryptocurrency” or “buy crypto.”

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