Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Binance officially announces blockade of website in Nigeria

“Importantly, all user funds are secure and accounts can still be accessed.’’

• February 22, 2024

World’s largest cryptocurrency trade platform, Binance has confirmed blockade of its website and other cryptocurrency platform’s to Nigerian users.

The cryptocurrency trading platform disclosed this in a statement on Thursday as Nigerians lament inability to access the platform’s website. 

“We are aware that some users are experiencing issues accessing binance.com, along with other platforms in the industry,” Binance said.

Binance said that the blockage affected only its users accessing the platform via its website, noting that its app was still functioning for users to access the platform. 

“Only users attempting to access the website are impacted, although the App is currently available.  Importantly, all user funds are secure and accounts can still be accessed,” Binance said.

Binance added that it “remains committed to the adherence to local regulations and laws. We continue to actively engage with regulators, policymakers and other relevant stakeholders to foster an open transparent dialogue about managing the evolving landscape of cryptocurrency.” 

This follows clampdown on cryptocurrency platforms by the President Bola Tinubu-led government in a bid to stabilise declining Nigerian naira, a move criticised by Nigerian Binance users.

It is coming less than two months after the Federal Government lifted ban on cryptocurrency and the recent clampdown on unlicensed Bureau De Change operators by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to save naira’s freefall against the dollar.

People Gazette reported that Binance confirming was working with the Federal Government to block dollar-naira trading on the platform. 

This move saw Binance disable the sell option for its Nigerian users, blocking them from selling fiat currency, USDT, on the platform on Tuesday. It also capped the buy option to $1802 for Nigerian users, triggering panic among its users. 

After the disruption by Binance on Tuesday, the naira which dipped to N1,900 against the dollar on Wednesday made some gains trading at N1,600 to a dollar. 

With “more than half of its adult population” trading cryptocurrency “monthly,” according to Binance, Nigeria ranks among countries with the largest population of crypto traders in the world. 

The blocking of Binance website by the Federal Government, though not officially announced, was mooted by presidential spokesperson, Bayo Onanuga, on Wednesday.

He tweeted: “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.

“The EFCC and the CBN should move against these platforms trying to manipulate our national currency to Ground Zero. Crypto should be banned in our country or else this bleeding of our currency will continue unabated.”

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