Nigeria Detains Two Binance Executives Amid Crypto Crackdown – FT

U.S. lawmakers send letter to President Biden, urging immediate action to bring detained Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan home from Nigeria.

Key Insights

  • Two senior Binance executives detained in Nigeria amid crackdown on crypto exchanges
  • Executives had flown to Nigeria after country banned several crypto trading websites last week
  • Naira has faced chronic dollar shortages, sending currency to record lows

LAGOS (MarketsXplora) – Two senior executives from major cryptocurrency exchange Binance have been detained in Nigeria as the country intensifies a crackdown on digital asset platforms used for trading the naira, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

The Binance officials were held by the office of Nigeria’s national security adviser after flying to the country, with their passports seized, the FT said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Binance did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Read also! Nigeria Demands Binance Hand Over Data on Top 100 Users

Last week, Nigeria banned several cryptocurrency trading websites after a number of platforms became popular for naira transactions, particularly as the local currency has weakened sharply over the past six years.

The naira has faced chronic dollar shortages that sent it to record lows before a devaluation last month, its second in a year.

Read also! Nigerian tax authority drops charges against Binance 

Policymakers have partially blamed rapid growth of cryptocurrencies for putting further pressure on the naira as Nigerians use platforms denominated in naira with offshore payments.

Read also! Binance Yield to Nigeria Regulators, Limits USDT to Naira Rate

Africa’s largest economy has restricted access to dollars since 2015 after a previous oil crash drained foreign reserves, pushing investors to exit and the naira down 60% over the period.

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