Binance Nigeria Ordered to Halt 'Illegal' Operations by Securities Watchdog

A spokesperson for Binance, which faces U.S. SEC allegations that include operating an unregistered exchange, said the Nigerian company is not affiliated with the firm.

AccessTimeIconJun 10, 2023 at 12:19 p.m. UTC
Updated Jun 12, 2023 at 8:36 a.m. UTC

CORRECTION (June 12, 08:07 UTC): Updates headline following Binance's comment that the Nigerian company is not affiliated with the company. An earlier version referred to Binance's Nigerian unit.

A company called Binance Nigeria Limited was ordered to immediately halt operations in the West African nation by the local Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to a Friday circular.

"Binance Nigeria Limited is neither registered nor regulated by the Commission and its operations in Nigeria are therefore illegal," the notice said.

The order follows last week's lawsuit by the U.S. securities watchdog against Binance, the largest global crypto exchange by volume traded. That suit alleges Binance failed to register as a broker or exchange, and that it sold unregistered securities the general public.

A Binance spokesperson told CoinDesk it was aware of the circular, and that Binance Nigeria Limited "is not affiliated" with the company. "We are therefore seeking clarity from the Nigerian SEC and remain committed to working with them cooperatively on the next steps," the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Although Nigeria's SEC had previously said it viewed all crypto assets to be securities by default, this appears to be the first action taken by the regulator against a platform. In May, Bloomberg reported the SEC was processing crypto firms' applications for registration on a trial basis, but would not officially start registering them until it has reached an agreement with the country's central bank.

Banks in the country are prohibited from offering services to crypto platforms.

"The Commission shall provide updates on further regulatory actions with respect to the activities of Binance Nigeria Limited, and other similar platforms and shall work with other regulators in Nigeria to provide further guidance on this matter," Friday's order said.

Camomile Shumba contributed reporting.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.