Binance to cease all Nigerian naira transactions by March 8

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Major global cryptocurrency exchange Binance is exiting the Nigerian market, announcing the full discontinuation of all services in the local fiat currency, the Nigerian naira (NGN).

Binance officially announced on March 5 that the platform will suspend NGN withdrawals after March 8. From March 8, any remaining NGN balances in users’ Binance accounts will be automatically converted to the Tether (USDT) stablecoin, the announcement said.

The exchange has encouraged users to withdraw NGN, trade their NGN assets or convert NGN into crypto prior to the discontinuation of these NGN services.

“Please note that the conversion rate is calculated based on the average closing price of the USDT/NGN trading pair on Binance Spot in the last seven days,” the announcement added.

Binance will also immediately suspend NGN deposits, as such transactions will not be supported after 2:00 pm UTC on March 5.

All trading pairs involving NGN are set to be removed on Binance on March 7, according to the announcement. Binance’s payment service Binance Pay will also remove NGN from the list of supported payment options on March 6.

Binance also mentioned that Binance’s peer-to-peer platform delisted all NGN trading pairs in late February.

The news on the complete removal of the Nigerian naira from Binance comes amid the company facing significant regulatory scrutiny in Nigeria.

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

Nigeria’s National Security Adviser also reportedly confiscated the passports of two Binance executives in the capital Abuja. The authority also reportedly confiscated the passports of the execs, who are citizens of the United States and the United Kingdom.

As the suspicions of Binance’s alleged illicit operations in Nigeria intensified, the Nigerian House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes has called Binance CEO Richard Teng to appear before the committee over the issue. According to local sources, the committee’s chair, issued an ultimatum to the management of Binance to appear before the committee on or before March 4.

Related: Binance user gets drained on exchange, shares ‘strange’ experience

Nigeria has been emerging as one of the fastest growing crypto economies in the world in the past few years.

In September 2023, major crypto intelligence firm Chainalysis named Nigeria second in the world in terms of cryptocurrency adoption. In August 2022, Nigeria emerged as the most crypto-obsessed country in the world in terms of the amount of Google searches for “cryptocurrency” or “buy crypto.”

The regulators are apparently less welcoming of Nigeria’s high pace of crypto adoption. In February 2024, an adviser to Nigeria’s president called for a ban on Binance, KuCoin and other crypto trading platforms in the country. Two years ago, Nigeria’s central bank banned regulated financial institutions from providing services to crypto exchanges in the country.

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