As Bitcoin hits $17,800 – near all-time highs – nearly three-quarters of high net worth individuals will be invested in cryptocurrencies before the end of 2022, reveals a new global poll.
The survey, carried out by deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations, finds that 73% of poll participants are now already invested in or will make investments in digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP, before the end of 2022.
The findings come as the price of Bitcoin rallied to $17,858 – almost at the $19,763 all-time high reached in December 2017.
The surge takes the leading cryptocurrency’s total market capitalisation to over $315 billion, just below its $335 billion record.
The 700-plus respondents are clients who currently reside in North America, the UK, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, Australasia and Latin America.
‘High net worth’ is classified in this context as having a more than £1m (or equivalent) in investable assets.
Of the survey, deVere Group CEO and founder, Nigel Green, who launched the pioneering deVere Crypto app in 2018, said: “The price of Bitcoin is up 125% year-to-date, making it once again one of the best-performing assets of the year.
“As the survey shows, this impressive performance is drawing the attention of wealthy investors who increasingly understand that digital currencies are the future of money and they don’t want to be left in the past.”
The same poll undertaken last year found that 68% of high net worth individuals are now already invested in or will make investments in digital currencies before the end of 2022, meaning there has been a jump of 5% year-on-year.
He continues: “No doubt that many of these HNWs who were polled have seen that a major driver of the price surge is the growing interest being expressed by institutional investors who are capitalising on the high returns that the digital asset class is currently offering.
“They – including some of the biggest Wall Street banks amongst others – are now aware that the world’s biggest and most influential decentralised currency isn’t going anywhere.
“This will mean that they are set to bring even more of their knowledge and capital into the already booming sector – and this is unlikely to have been overlooked by wealthy retail investors.
Mr Green goes on to add: “Nor too will the recent decision by one of the biggest payment companies in the world, PayPal, to allow customers to buy, sell and hold Bitcoin, have gone unnoticed.”
In addition, the deVere CEO says that investors are being attracted to bullish Bitcoin as it is a “legitimate hedge against longer-term inflation concerns which have come to the fore due to stimulus packages” – more of which are promised by major governments and central banks around the world.
“These emergency measures, like the massive money-printing agenda, reduce the value of traditional currencies like the dollar.
“Other inherent characteristics of cryptocurrencies are piquing interest too. These include that they’re borderless, making them perfectly suited to an ever globalised world of commerce, trade, and people; that they are digital, making them perfectly suited for the increasing digitalization of our world; and that demographics are on the side of cryptocurrencies as younger people are more likely to embrace them than older generations.”
Mr Green concludes: “High net worth individuals are not prepared to miss out on the future of money and are rebalancing their portfolios towards these digital assets.”
Nigeria Imposes Record $10 Billion Fine on Binance Over Forex Impact
The Nigerian government has levied a historic $10 billion fine against the cryptocurrency trading platform, Binance, citing its alleged role in the nation’s forex crisis.
The fine, which stands as the largest ever imposed by Nigeria on a single entity, comes amidst mounting concerns over the stability of the country’s currency and economy.
According to Bayo Onanuga, the special adviser on information and strategy to President Bola Tinubu, Binance stands accused of engaging in illegal transactions that have significantly impacted Nigeria’s foreign exchange market.
Onanuga asserted that Binance, despite lacking a physical presence or registration in Nigeria, facilitated illicit activities that led to substantial profits for the platform while causing immense losses for the nation.
The crux of the government’s allegations revolves around Binance’s alleged manipulation of exchange rates between the US dollar and the Nigerian naira.
Onanuga claimed that users on the platform were able to arbitrarily set exchange rates, a practice that contravenes Nigerian law and undermines the authority of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in regulating currency exchange.
The repercussions of Binance’s actions, as outlined by Onanuga, have been dire. The unregulated fixing of exchange rates purportedly contributed to a staggering 70% devaluation of the naira in recent months, exacerbating Nigeria’s already precarious economic situation.
In response to mounting pressure, Binance has ceased naira-related transactions on its platform and pledged cooperation with Nigerian authorities.
However, the government remains steadfast in its determination to hold the platform accountable for its alleged transgressions.
The imposition of the $10 billion fine underscores the severity of the situation and sends a clear message that Nigeria will not tolerate actions that jeopardize its economic stability.
The government’s move reflects its commitment to safeguarding the integrity of the nation’s financial systems and protecting the interests of its citizens.
As the controversy unfolds, questions linger regarding the broader implications for cryptocurrency regulation in Nigeria and the global fintech landscape.
With Binance facing unprecedented scrutiny and the forex crisis deepening, stakeholders await further developments that could reshape the trajectory of Nigeria’s economic future.
Binance Disables Naira Feature to Halt Possible Capital Outflow
Binance, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange platform, on Wednesday disabled the Naira pair on its Peer-to-Peer (P2P) platform shortly after Financial Times (FT) reported the arrest of two of the company’s executives.
The two executives reportedly flew into the country following the Federal Government’s decision to ban cryptocurrency exchanges to rein in speculation and curb currency manipulations.
However, the two were arrested by the authorities at the airport and their passports were confiscated pending investigation into Binance activities in Nigeria.
Binance which had sustained operations on its mobile application despite the ban imposed by the government on the organisation a week earlier and even released a statement to that effect suddenly disabled its Naira pair on Wednesday after FT broke the news of the arrest.
It should be recalled that Binance introduced the P2P service to beat the impact of sanctions on its operations after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) restricted all financial institutions from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions in 2021.
This means that Binance disabled its Naira pair to curb capital outflow in the aftermath of the report and it is not in compliance with the Federal Government’s position as people are insinuating.
During the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) press conference, Olayemi Cardoso, the Governor, CBN had heaped most of the woes of Nigeria’s currency on operations of Binance and other similar platforms.
According to him, a total of $26 billion was moved through Binance Nigeria in the last one year from both unknown sources and users.
He “We are concerned that certain practices go on that indicate illicit flows going through a number of these entities [crypto platforms] and suspicious flows at best. In the case of Binance, in the last one year alone, $26bn has passed through Binance Nigeria from sources and users who we cannot adequately identify”.
Therefore, the news of the arrest would have triggered an exodus outflow of capital to other cryptocurrency exchange platforms like Kucoin and dragged on Binance’s activity level at a time when activity was just picking up ahead of Bitcoin Halving and the subsequent bullish run.
Nigeria is by far the largest cryptocurrency market in Sub-Saharan Africa and between July 2022 and June 2023 received $60 billion in crypto value, according to Chainalysis.
“Nigeria is one of only six countries in the top 50 by size globally whose crypto transaction volume grew year-over-year in the time period we studied. Its growth rate of 9.0% places it third among those six.”
Nigeria Detains Binance Executives in Crackdown on Cryptocurrency Speculation
Nigeria has detained two senior executives of Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, over currency exchange manipulation on the company’s platform.
The crackdown comes amidst escalating concerns over the rampant devaluation of the naira, which has propelled inflation to a nearly three-decade high of 29.9%.
The detained executives flew to Nigeria in response to the government’s recent ban on several cryptocurrency trading platforms, only to find themselves detained by the office of the national security adviser, who also confiscated their passports.
While Binance has remained tight-lipped about the incident, Nigerian authorities have intensified their scrutiny of cryptocurrency exchanges as they seek to stem illicit financial flows and establish control over the nation’s monetary policy.
Nigeria’s central bank governor, Olayemi Cardoso has raised concerns over the flow of funds through crypto exchanges, citing $26 billion passing through Binance Nigeria in the past year alone from unidentifiable sources and users.
The government’s aggressive stance has prompted demands for detailed user lists from Binance since its inception, indicating a broader investigation into cryptocurrency activities within the country.
This crackdown marks a significant setback for Binance, which has been attempting to overhaul its internal operations following a $4.3 billion penalty imposed by US authorities for money laundering and sanctions violations.
The detention of its executives underscores the challenges cryptocurrency exchanges face in navigating regulatory landscapes worldwide, particularly in emerging markets like Nigeria where authorities are grappling with economic instability and currency devaluation.
As Nigeria intensifies its efforts to attract foreign investment and revitalize its struggling economy, the clash between regulatory oversight and the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies underscores the complexities and tensions inherent in the global financial system.
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