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FG blocks Binance, OctaFX, other crypto firms over forex crisis

The Federal Government had alleged that currency speculators and money launderers were using the crypto platforms to execute criminal activities.

FG blocks Binance, OctaFX, other crypto firms over forex crisis

According to reports, the decision was targeted at averting what the government considers continuous manipulation of the forex market and illicit movement of funds.

Sources within the telecom industry confirmed on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) instructed the telcos to restrict access to all cryptocurrency websites in the country, per Premium Times.

The sources also claimed that telcos had started acting on the NCC directive, and Pulse can confirm this.

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The development comes nearly two months after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) lifted the embargo placed on cryptocurrency assets in the country and asked banks to ignore its February 2021 pronouncement banning crypto transactions.

An earlier report on Wednesday disclosed that the government was considering blocking crypto websites following reports that these platforms provide currency speculators and money launderers a convenient means to execute their criminal activities.

Authorities believe the alleged criminal activities on these platforms are contributing significantly to the continuous fall of the naira.

For its part, Binance had stated that its platform is not for currency pricing and vowed to support the Federal Government's effort at stabilising the foreign exchange market.

The clarification was in response to complaints from users about their inability to buy dollars on the platform.

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“As industry leaders, we are working hand in hand with local authorities, lawmakers, and regulators to ensure we act on non-compliance,” Binance explained in a statement on Wednesday.

It added that “setting an upper limit for ads, filtering and removing bad ads, requiring and raising deposits for merchants posting ads as well as processes for actioning against any market manipulators.

In a separate statement, the firm confirmed that it suspended transactions to protect users from price suppression.

It also debunked rumours that currency speculation was thriving on its platform, noting, “It is important to note that foreign exchange rates are influenced by various complex factors, which Binance has no influence on.

“However, we continue to actively engage with regulators, policymakers and other relevant stakeholders to foster an open, transparent dialogue about managing the evolving landscape of cryptocurrency and financial markets.

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