Wonders will never cease. The most crypto-obsessed nation globally lured Binance Exchange executives into a meeting but ended up detaining and charging them with 5 counts of money laundering.

Another week on the HODL FM, where we milk Web3 insights from across finance, technology, manufacturing, governance, and so on to give you a perfect view of the industry. 

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In the wake of Nigeria’s unpopular grilling of two Binance executives who visited the country for talks but ended up detained, Chairman of the Blockchain Industry Coordinating Committee (BICCoN) Lucky Uwakwe is worried that investors could pull out of partnerships and deals with local web3 enterprises. 


According to Uwakwe who leads one of Nigeria’s largest crypto intercommunity working groups, the country is already shouldering the consequences of the government’s action against Binance exchange. The immediate impact of the altercation between the country’s law enforcement and the exchange has been the withdrawal of deals in the Web3 sector due to the hostile environment which many perceive as not good for business.

The two Binance executives Nadeem Anjarwalla and Tigran Gambaryan visited Nigeria in February after government officials invited them to a round table to discuss concerns about the potential manipulation of the national currency by the exchange. In a twisted turn of events, the two ended up in custody and slammed with several counts of money laundering. 

As per Uwakwe, the government’s approach to the issue will lead to long-term adversities that will impact the entire nation. By hounding fines against the largest exchange in the world, Nigeria’s government is simply undermining the Web3 sector and slacking off its growth in pursuit of short-term gains.

 Perhaps there is a need to remind them ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush‘.


Advocating for Change

When it comes to the possibility of acquitting the two executives, Lucky Uwakwe was skeptical. He said the executives will only be acquitted if Binance meets certain conditions set out by the government. However, he added that acquittal by the courts does not necessarily mean the government will just let them go. In the past, the Nigerian government has often disregarded court rulings for cases with a similar weight to this one.

At the same time, Uwakwe also addressed a concern among the international crypto community regarding why Nigeria’s crypto community has not vigorously advocated against the detainment of the two executives. He noted that Binance should have engaged relevant associations (maybe like his) to garner assistance from pressure groups and lobby for their release.

But hey Uwakwe! This matter is not just about Binance and its executives getting grilled. This is an industry-wide matter that’s affecting the wider web3 industry in your country. Binance already delisted the Naira and withdrew its operations from your country. The ripple effect of your government’s mishandling of the case is already impacting web3 enterprises in our country. For Binance it’s only a matter of saving two of its executives and serving a universe of 195 countries minus 1 (Nigeria). 

For your country, it’s a matter of tackling retrogressive law enforcement that may not only hamper innovation but also limit investment and the livelihood of millions of Nigerians already relying on Web3. It is also a matter of preventing a repetition of similar crackdowns in the future that in the event of taking place, could easily bring Nigeria’s crypto economy to its knees.

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 Is it Binance that should come lobby for support from associations in your country or rather, associations in your country should take a stand against such crackdowns and do what’s right!? 

Yes, instead of waiting around for Binance which we both know will continue facing hostility not just from Nigeria’s government but many centralized entities that have always wanted crypto to go down. 

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