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Naira-USDT trading pair sees N1.9 billion turnover on Binance in 24 hours - THE GUARDIAN

FEBRUARY 23, 2024

by  Geoff Iyatse, Adeyemi Adepetun (Lagos) and Ayoyinka Jegede (Uyo)

•Exchange confirms regulatory directive

•Criminalise dollar spending, CITN urges govt

Crypto enthusiasts exchanged a total value of N1.9 billion via USDT-naira pair on Binance 24 hours after the government’s clampdown on leading digital currency exchange.

USDT is a stable coin pegged on dollar value and used as a measure of the value of other cryptocurrencies globally. Whereas many substitute its value for dollars, it is more like an imaginary dollar.

But digital currency traders believe it is backed by dollars, hence its value is taken as given, with thousands of Nigerian youths betting on its value daily.

Data sourced from Tradesanta also revealed that the volatility rate of naira on Binance had spiked in the past three days 6.5 per cent as at press time.

The trading figure increased drastically from N1.35 billion turnover recorded 24 hours before the platform suffered regulatory setback on Wednesday.

Binance has confirmed regulatory directives on its operations in Nigeria.<br>

The federal government, through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), directed telecom operators to block the platform on Wednesday. The move was seen as part of measures taken to stabilise naira and clip the wings of foreign exchange speculators.

In a notice placed on X yesterday, Binance disclosed that it was working with regulators in Nigeria on issues of non-compliance on its platform.

The clampdown on Binance by the authorities and other crypto firms is part of the government’s actions to curb alleged manipulation of the foreign exchange market.

In a post on its blog, the crypto platform said, “Further, as industry leaders, we are working hand in hand with local authorities, lawmakers, and regulators to ensure we act on non-compliance.”

The firm further stated its commitment to a market-driven, fraud-free and manipulation-free platform for its users.

On Thursday, users of Binance complained about their inability to buy USDT, a stablecoin pegged on dollar, on the platform. One user on X, @MikaelCBernard, tweeted: “There’s no more USDT available on Binance. It is like Binance traders have gone on strike. You can only sell, but you can’t buy.”

But unlike widespread reports, The Guardian confirmed that the platform was still actively trading yesterday. The peer-to-peer (P2P) where UDST is traded against other currencies including naira, was still very active yesterday with quotes pegged around N1,700 to a USDT as at press time.

Meanwhile, the government has been called upon to criminalise the spending of dollars in Nigeria to reduce the demand for hard currencies.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) National President, Samuel Agbeluyi, stated this in Uyo in an interview with The Guardian during the 2024 Council Retreat.

Agbeluyi said it was worrisome that Nigerians are almost using dollars as the country’s currency in the country, lamenting that a situation where rents and school fees are collected in dollars would continue to put pressure on naira.

He also expressed concern over the high level of tax evasion in the country, especially among the elite, saying the situation does not serve anybody any good.

He said for a better Nigeria, the government should increase productivity as well as deemphasize the importation of unnecessary items.

“If you travel to other countries, immediately you get to the airport, you have to change your money to the local currency. Spending dollars like it is a national currency means people go to the Bureau de Change to change their naira to dollars at will. Government should regulate the amount of dollars in the hands of people,” he said


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