Naira Will Bleed If We Don’t Clamp Down On Crypto Platforms — Onanuga To CBN, EFCC

Special Adviser to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, says Binance and other crypto platforms should be banned from operating in Nigeria.

Onanuga who made his position known via X on Wednesday, added that Foreign Exchange (FX) aggregator, abokiFX, should be banned also.

He noted this while reacting to a comment by Mikael C. Bernard, an X user, who shared posts on cryptocurrency and FX rates.

His statement is also coming amid the continuous depreciation of the naira, which fell to N1,900/$ at the parallel section of the FX market on February 20.

The naira declined by 9.83 percent from N1,730/$ recorded on February 19.

According to him, Binance is “blatantly setting exchange rate for Nigeria,” and hijacking the role of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The cryptocurrency trading platform, he added, is facing restrictions in multiple jurisdictions, such as the United States, Singapore, Canada and the United Kingdom.

“According to Data Wallet, Binance is prohibited in the United Kingdom by the Financial Conduct Authority from conducting any regulated activities. In Japan, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) banned Binance for operating without the necessary regulatory approval.

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“Ontario, Canada, has also suspended Binance services following its inability to meet the province’s securities regulation criteria. The Monetary Authority of Singapore also banned Singaporean investors from accessing Binance’s services.

“Binance, facing regulatory showdown in many countries, and causing disruptions in the currency market, should not be allowed to dictate the value of the Naira, not on its crypto exchange platform.

“Other crypto platforms such as Kucoin, Bybit should be banned from operating in our cyberspace. FX platform Aboki should be re-banned,” he averred.

Onanuga called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the CBN to move against the platforms, adding that the firms are trying to “manipulate our national currency to ground zero,” or else “this bleeding of our currency will continue unabated.”

Onanuga’s call for a ban on cryptocurrency trading platforms followed the directive of the CBN on February 5, 2021, to banks, non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), and other financial institutions (OFIs), to close accounts of persons or entities involved in crypto transactions.

The regulator also warned local financial institutions against dealing in crypto assets or facilitating payments for crypto exchanges.

CBN cited concerns over money laundering, terrorism financing, cybercrime, and the volatility of cryptocurrencies as reasons for the ban.