The local Securities and Exchange Commission has issued an immediate halt order on the operations of Binance Nigeria Limited, the Nigerian unit of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, according to a circular released on Friday.
The notice stated that Binance Nigeria Limited is not registered or regulated by the Commission, rendering its operations in Nigeria illegal.
This action by Nigeria’s SEC comes in the wake of a lawsuit filed by the U.S. securities watchdog against Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by market capitalization. The lawsuit alleges that Binance failed to register as a broker or exchange and sold unregistered securities to the public.
While Nigeria’s SEC previously considered all crypto assets to be securities by default, this is the first instance of regulatory action taken against a major exchange platform. In May, Bloomberg reported that the country’s SEC was processing registration applications from crypto firms on a trial basis. However, the official registration process is pending until an agreement is reached with the central bank of Nigeria, as banks in the country are currently prohibited from providing services to crypto platforms.