FG slams Binance with $10bn fine

The cryptocurrency trading platform, Binance, has been hit with a $10 billion fine by the federal government of Nigeria for allegedly impacting the nation’s forex crisis.

President Bola Tinubu’s special adviser on information and strategy, Bayo Onanuga, who disclosed this in an interview with the BBC on Friday morning, claimed that Binance made significant profits from its “illegal transactions,” while the country sustained enormous losses.

Onanuga posited that Binance is not present or registered in Nigeria, adding that users were arbitrarily fixing dollar-naira exchange rates on the platform, which had a detrimental effect on the value of the local currency.

He went on to say that the Binance team had already stopped naira-related transactions on the platform and was working with the Nigerian authorities by giving helpful information.

Onanuga stated that the government has been observing the detrimental effects of Binance’s operations in Nigeria, adding that, “The platform fixes the exchange rate in Nigeria, which is illegal. The Central Bank of Nigeria is the only authority that can fix the exchange rate for Nigeria.

“Binance harbours a lot of people who fix exchange rates which impacted the country badly at a time when the government is trying to stabilize the economy.”

He added that Binance influenced the increase in foreign exchange rates through currency speculations which made the Naira value to fall by almost 70% in recent months.

Earlier, Onanuga had urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to take action against platforms that attempt to manipulate the value of the naira using cryptocurrency exchange platforms by Mr. Bayo Onanuga, President Bola Tinubu’s special assistant on information and strategy.

This follows the news that the value of the naira is currently trading at N1680/$ on a cryptocurrency trading platform.

Onanuga recommended that cryptocurrency channels be outlawed in the nation because, in his words, “this bleeding of our currency will continue unabated” in a statement he posted on his X handle.

The presidential media aide in a post titled, “The Naira-Dollar manipulators,” detailing how he happened to come across an X post on Tuesday night from a person named Brother Bernard. According to the presidential adviser, Bernard revealed token sellers had moved to Telegram and were now charging N1850 and more per naira.

“He did not stop there, he lashed out at the Nigerian authorities over the efforts to arrest the slide of the Naira. He wrote: ‘If this is how they plan to save the naira, I’m sorry but it’s going to fail woefully. Binance was only a medium. If you block Binance, people will find new ways. This whole policy is absolutely ridiculous. Naira is going to zero’.

“Naira going to Zero? Is the owner of this account a Nigerian patriot? I checked Bernard’s profile. He says he is “BUIDLing something for migrants” and he is the “Chief Commander of Japa,” he lamented.

The presidential aide urged the government to pursue currency manipulators, stating that Binance is a cryptocurrency trading platform that has faced access restrictions from various jurisdictions, including the US, Singapore, Canada, and the UK. Binance is “blatantly setting exchange rate for Nigeria, hijacking CBN role.

“Banking cryptocurrency in our nation is necessary to stop the unchecked depreciation of our currency,” he continued.