Nigeria’s Binance Crackdown Endangers Web3 Industry

Nigeria is facing the consequences of its actions against Binance executives, as investors are now withdrawing from deals and partnerships, particularly in the web3 sector. The perceived lack of safety for business and the government’s hostility are the main concerns, according to Lucky Uwakwe, the chairman of Nigeria’s Blockchain Industry Coordinating Committee (BICCoN). In a recent interview, Uwakwe, who is also the head of Nigeria’s intercommunity working group involving Blockchain Nigeria User Group (BNUG), Cryptography Development Initiative of Nigeria (CDIN), and Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SiBAN), expressed the worries of investors. They fear similar repercussions to what Binance has faced when investing in local web3 companies, leading to gradual divestment.

The Binance executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, were detained in Nigeria in February after allegations of manipulating the country’s fiat currency, the naira. They were hit with five counts of money laundering following a meeting with the Nigerian government to address Binance’s regulatory issues. Uwakwe believes that the government’s handling of the Binance case is negatively impacting the entire nation. Pursuing fines against Binance undermines the industry as a whole, sacrificing potential growth for short-term measures.

When asked about the chances of the Binance executives being acquitted in the ongoing trial, Uwakwe expressed skepticism. He believes that the executives have slim chances of acquittal unless certain internal conditions are met by the company, according to the government’s perspective. He also mentioned that even if the executives are acquitted by the judge, there is a strong possibility that the Nigerian government may choose to disregard the court’s ruling. This has been observed in the past, especially in cases that are perceived to threaten the country’s stability.

Uwakwe addressed the question of why the Nigerian crypto community isn’t strongly advocating for the release of the Binance executives. He suggested that if Binance had engaged with relevant associations earlier, they could have garnered support from pressure groups and lobbying efforts. The Nigerian government has had a contentious relationship with cryptocurrency exchanges, and this was evident when Binance stopped operating with the naira in March, following government criticism in February. It is worth noting that Nigeria has been named the most crypto-obsessed country in the world based on the number of Google searches for “cryptocurrency” or “buy crypto” in August 2022.

4 thoughts on “Nigeria’s Binance Crackdown Endangers Web3 Industry

  1. Why should anyone invest in Nigeria when the government treats Binance like this? The country can’t be trusted.

  2. The involvement of Lucky Uwakwe in Nigeria’s intercommunity working group shows a concerted effort to address these concerns together. Collaboration is key in creating a positive future for the industry.

  3. It’s clear that the Nigerian government doesn’t care about the blockchain industry. They’re willing to sacrifice growth for short-term measures.

  4. It’s sad to see Nigeria losing out on potential growth because of the government’s hostility towards Binance. 😞

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