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It’s been a tough week for cryptocurrency exchange Binance. On June 9, the Nigerian Securities Authority reportedly ruled the exchange illegal, just days after the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Binance.
“Binance Nigeria Limited has been ordered to immediately cease any form of solicitation of Nigerian investors,” the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said in a statement seen by Bloomberg.
The regulator also noted that Binance is not registered or regulated in the country, which makes its activities illegal. “Any member of the investment community dealing with the organization does so at their own peril and risk,” the commission said.
Allegedly, Binance US putting customer funds at risk. Anyone with proof will be doing millions of people a lot of good.
— Son of Timothy (@ObiUcheUzoije) June 7, 2023
The failure comes just days after Binance was sued by US authorities. On June 5, the US SEC filed 13 charges against Binance, including allegations of unregistered offerings and sales of securities, refusal to register as an exchange or broker, and mixing funds. The company said it has provided all the information required by regulators and is looking forward to “defending in court.”
Binance is a popular cryptocurrency exchange in Nigeria. It is one of the most famous cryptocurrency centers in the region and the most populous country in Africa. Chainalysis research shows that the Middle East and North Africa region leads the world in cryptocurrency adoption, with users receiving $566 billion in cryptocurrencies between July 2021 and June 2022, up 48% from the previous year.
The ban follows recent regulatory changes in the local cryptocurrency ecosystem. On May 28, former President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Finance Law imposing a 10 percent tax on profits from digital assets. Newly elected Nigerian President Bola Tinubu recently released a manifesto proposing to revise Nigerian SEC regulations on digital assets to make them more business-friendly.
The Central Bank of Nigeria does not recognize cryptocurrencies as legal tender, and commercial banks have been banned from trading in cryptocurrencies in the country since February 2021.
Cointelegraph reached out to Binance but received no immediate response.