Is cryptocurrency responsible for the naira depreciation?

Crypto aficionados in Nigeria are now experiencing a difficult time due to significant turmoil within the Nigerian crypto market, particularly involving the prominent entity Binance. Bayo Onanuga, who serves as the special adviser to Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has been openly criticising Binance, accusing them of negatively impacting the economy.

During a recent interview with Channels Television, Onanuga blamed Binance for contributing to the significant decline of the local currency against major currencies. He is accusing Binance of potentially triggering economic turmoil. Binance responded by stating that the issue was not caused by them but rather by “complex circumstances.” Shortly before Onanuga’s surprising revelation, the Nigerian security advisor arrested two top cryptocurrency exchange CEOs during a discussion about the tremendous stakes involved in the cryptocurrency market.

However, Onanuga remains unconvinced by Binance’s denial. He is determined to uncover those he refers to as “saboteurs.” He claims that Binance is manipulating Nigeria’s currency rate by using cyber tactics and influencing the Central Bank of Nigeria. He made a daring request for Nigerians to abandon the “illegal” parallel foreign currency market. Yes, the one that is quite popular yet seems to be causing discomfort for Onanuga. He finds it puzzling that, despite the recent Binance scandal, people still have faith in the parallel market.

Binance has yielded to pressure. The leading cryptocurrency company announced its decision to withdraw from the Nigerian market and cease providing services in Nigerian Naira. Starting on March 8th, 2024, all leftover NGN balances will be immediately changed to USDT. Users are advised to withdraw, trade, and convert their NGN funds into cryptocurrency by the specified date.

Do you think Binace is the enemy in this Nigerian cryptocurrency controversy? Are they responsible for the naira depreciation, or is this an instance of blame-shifting in the digital realm? Do you believe that Binance exiting the Nigerian market would contribute to stabilising the naira?


By Nnaemeka ODENIGBO

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