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The illegality of Binance and the countermeasures by CBN, by Abubakar Hassan Gimba

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The illegality of Binance and the countermeasures by CBN, by Abubakar Hassan Gimba

In recent times, Nigeria has taken decisive regulatory action against cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance. In September 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a statement regarding Binance expressing concerns about its operations and regulatory compliance within Nigeria’s jurisdiction. Additionally, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has initiated countermeasures against Binance, including increased scrutiny and regulatory oversight, to ensure compliance with local regulations and safeguard the country’s financial system. These actions highlight the government’s determination to address potential risks associated with cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance while also signaling its commitment to regulatory enforcement and financial stability.

READ ALSO: Why Nigeria is taking regulatory action against Binance and crypto firms, by Abubakar Hassan Gimba

This move has sparked debates and raised questions about government’s motivations. In this opinion piece, we will delve into the reasons behind Nigeria’s stance, analyze the economic context, and explore parallels with other countries. Let’s explore the intricacies of this controversial decision.

The Nigerian Context

1. Naira Exchange Rate Crisis

The Nigerian Naira (NGN) has been under immense pressure due to a combination of factors like declining oil prices, inflation, and capital flight. Presently, the exchange rate stands at over 1,900 NGN to a US dollar. This devaluation erodes purchasing power, affects imports, and creates uncertainty for businesses and citizens alike.

2. Currency Manipulation Concerns

The government perceives cryptocurrency platforms as potential conduits for currency manipulation. The decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies allows for speculative trading, which can exacerbate exchange rate volatility. By restricting these platforms, the government aims to curb illicit activities and stabilize the Naira.

Economic Theories Supporting the Government’s Position

1. Trilemma of International Finance

The Mundell-Fleming trilemma posits that a country cannot simultaneously achieve three goals: exchange rate stability, monetary autonomy, and free capital movement. Nigeria faces this dilemma acutely. By regulating crypto exchanges, the government seeks to regain control over monetary policy and stabilize the Naira.

2. Fear of Capital Flight

Countries experiencing economic instability often witness capital flight—investors moving funds abroad to safer assets. By restricting crypto platforms, Nigeria hopes to prevent capital flight and retain foreign exchange reserves.

3. Precedents from Other Nations

Several countries have taken similar actions:

China: The Chinese government banned initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto exchanges in 2017. Their concern was speculative trading and capital flight.
India: India has oscillated between strict regulations and cautious acceptance of cryptocurrencies. The Reserve Bank of India banned banks from dealing with crypto firms but later lifted the ban with certain restrictions.
Turkey: Turkey recently banned the use of cryptocurrencies for payments, citing risks to financial stability.

Binance’s Response and the Way Forward

Binance, a major player in the crypto space, has faced scrutiny, while they argue that their actions are to “protect users and prevent abuse,” the Nigerian government remains vigilant. Binance’s compliance with local regulations is crucial for a harmonious resolution.

Conclusion

Nigeria’s regulatory action against Binance and crypto firms is a complex issue. Balancing economic stability, investor protection, and technological innovation is no easy task. As the global crypto landscape evolves, Nigeria must tread carefully, considering both short-term stability and long-term growth. The Naira’s fate hangs in the balance, and the government’s actions will shape its trajectory.

In the end, the debate continues: Is this a prudent move to safeguard the Naira, or an impediment to financial freedom? Only time will reveal the true impact of Nigeria’s regulatory stance on the crypto industry.

Abubakar Hassan Gimba is a 26-year-old graduate of agriculture from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. Email: ageember@gmail.com

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