Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission has declared the activities of Binance illegal, banning the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange from the country, according to a statement by the regulator.
“Binance Nigeria Limited is hereby directed to immediately stop soliciting Nigerian investors in any form whatsoever,” the SEC said on Friday, calling the company illegal, as it was neither registered nor regulated.
The commission said it would notify the public of any additional regulatory steps relating to the operation of Binance Nigeria Limited and other similar platforms. The SEC added that it would cooperate with other Nigerian regulators to offer more clarification on the issue.
A set of regulations for digital assets were introduced last year in an attempt to find a compromise solution to avoid an outright ban on crypto assets and a total absence of rules related to the use of virtual currencies.
In 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria barred local banks and financial institutions from dealing in or facilitating transactions in virtual currencies. The same year, however, the monetary authority launched its own digital currency in a bid to contain the rise of crypto among Nigeria’s tech-savvy population.
The African country has been enthusiastically adopting cryptocurrencies. Among other steps, it allowed local crypto exchanges to offer peer-to-peer trading to avoid the financial sector ban.
Binance, the world’s largest crypto trading platform by volume, is facing similar issues following a crackdown by financial authorities in the US. Earlier this month, the exchange said it would cease operations in Canada, citing a new set of regulations governing the crypto industry in the country as a key reason for the move.