Emmanuel Ebanehita, Marketing Director (West Africa) at Binance, speaks on Nigeria’s partnership with the exchange

Temitope Akintade
Emmanuel Ebanehita

Emmanuel Ebanehita is a seasoned marketing, PR and sales strategist. With experiences gathered through working with diverse industry experts and specialists, he works with the largest crypto exchange, Binance as the West African marketing director.

In an interview with Technext, he narrates how his journey with Binance started and sheds more light on the reported Binance x Nigeria partnership. 

Emmanuel’s journey into the blockchain world started in 2012 when bitcoin was still in its infancy and usage was limited. 

At the time, I began learning about the space and witnessed the power of blockchain to potentially transform lives as well as the vast number of use cases of blockchain for individuals, new businesses, startups, governments and various sectors in Africa. I bought my first bitcoin sometime that year and since then, I haven’t looked back.

Emmanuel Ebanehita.

Emmanuel Ebanehita’s journey with Binance 

Emmanuel Ebanehita.’s journey with Binance started in mid-2020. He saw a job opportunity at Binance to drive crypto adoption across communities in Africa, he applied on LinkedIn and got the job as the Marketing Lead for Binance Africa. 

Considering crypto adoption was still in its infancy, Emmanuel Ebanehita remarks that he was uncertain about what the digital economy had in store for the continent and the key issues it was trying to solve. However, he knew the possibilities were endless. 

I took the leap, got into crypto and blockchain, broadened my mindset and I am very proud of the achievements we’ve made so far.”

In his position, Emmanuel Ebanehita has been instrumental in setting up the existing communities Binance has in Africa. Driving growth through strategic campaigns per region and growing the community on telegram and social channels has also been an exciting and fulfilling experience for him. 

Emmanuel Ebanehita, African Marketing Director at Binance

“Today, Africa has one of the largest communities for crypto in Binance!

At Binance, we understand the intricacies of pushing the right knowledge and education to Africans. I have led the team in launching strategic partnerships and hosting multiple online and offline events and masterclasses to educate Africans about the opportunities within the crypto space and how to make a living from them.” – Emmanuel Ebanehita..

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From hosting multiple education initiatives, some challenges he has seen and engaged with are bad actors and misleading information, which leads to FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) and lack of trust. 

“Sometimes, users do not research projects before they invest in them, and if the project crashes or doesn’t do as well, they tend to attribute such failures to the entire crypto industry. To overcome these challenges, we have put education at the forefront of our mission.

Our major goal is driving the right knowledge and educating new users on the fundamentals of cryptocurrencies, how to identify scams and safeguard their crypto journey.  It is also important for new users to DYOR (Do Your Own Research) before investing to avoid falling prey to bad actors who tend to take advantage of the lack of knowledge. Binance provides free lessons on the Binance academy website www.academy.binance.com for all crypto enthusiasts.”

Blockchain in Africa

Emmanuel Ebanehita says Africa has become a hub for the crypto industry in recent years, with the region establishing some of the most important use cases for crypto and blockchain. He attributes the reason why crypto adoption is on the rise in Africa to how crypto connects the continent to the world. 

Current traditional banking can be limited in terms of how long transactions take, how much it costs and the difficulties of exchanging currencies. Crypto innovates the way Africans make payments across country lines, whether it is remittances, cross-border transfers, settlements and so on.

There are also many other use cases, such as crypto as a store of value, as a hedge against currency devaluation. Several African countries are plagued with constant currency devaluation. So, users are more likely to use crypto and stablecoins, i.e. use of stablecoins as a saving asset and holding coins like Bitcoin as an investment (e.g. similar to gold).”

On the knotty issue of regulation, Emmanuel Ebanehita believes that most of the regulations put in place by authorities/regulators are to protect users. 

“We welcome and support smart regulation at Binance because we believe it encourages innovation and helps keep users safe. Many crypto stakeholders, including Binance, were initially self-regulating through KYC/AML policies when there was little clarity from regulators. Now, as authorities/regulators have shown an interest in the space, we believe we have  a  fundamental responsibility to work with regulators and that a well-regulated crypto market provides greater protections for everyday users.”

He, however, believes that there is a lot more work to be done, including education and dialogue between regulators and industry players, because this is a nascent industry. 

For instance, Binance recently launched the Global Law Enforcement Training Program, where leaders from the Binance Investigations team hold in-person training  & workshops with Law Enforcement (LE) around the world. The curriculum includes insight into the evolving legal and regulatory environment, and training on investigative methods developed by the company to detect and prevent potential fraud is also discussed in detail.

We will continue to work closely with regulators to educate them about the industry and its possibilities.”

Binance X Nigeria 

Emmanuel Ebanehita. says Binance’s aim is always to keep users safe, which means protection mechanisms such as KYC, anti-money laundering measures, collaboration with law enforcement, and account restrictions are in place to ensure our community remains protected and that fraudulent activity is prevented.

Responding to a question about the ‘indiscriminate’ banning of Nigerian accounts by Binance, Emmanuel Ebanehita says;

To clarify, there has been no indiscriminate banning of Nigerian accounts by Binance recently. I believe you might be referring to the 281 Nigerian accounts affected by personal account restrictions, with approximately 38% of those cases restricted at the request of international law enforcement. Those were only restricted to ensure our community remains protected and that fraudulent activity is prevented.

Additionally, regarding the restriction of accounts specifically, we operate the same all over the world. Binance assists and supports law enforcement agencies’ efforts to identify and prevent criminal activity and detect violations of anti-money laundering counter-terrorist financing regimes and disrupt proliferation financing. This is part of Binance’s efforts to prevent using the Binance platform for criminal activities.” – Emmanuel Ebanehita. 

There was an announcement about Nigeria x Binance partnership recently, but the details surrounding the update are still vague. Although crypto enthusiasts welcomed the development in the country, it is still unclear what exactly it is out to do and what effects it will have on the everyday Nigerian. However, Emmanuel Ebanehita says:

As we continue to support blockchain adoption across the African continent, Binance’s collaboration with The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority was set up to establish a virtual free zone to generate long-term economic growth through digital innovation in the region.

We look forward to sharing  key details on this partnership once the plans have been finalised.”

Binance, CEO, Chinpeng Zao
Binance, CEO, Chinpeng Zao

Till today, bank accounts found having crypto transactions are being banned by the Nigerian government. It is quite contradictory that the same authority is partnering with the largest crypto exchange. Still, Emmanuel Ebanehita says African governments are showing an increased interest in engaging with and understanding the power of blockchain technology – through regulations, CBDCs and more.  

Although we have no power over the regulatory decisions that these governments make,  partnering  and creating an open dialogue with governments and regulatory bodies continue to prove instrumental in developing appropriate regulatory frameworks in the respective countries. We prioritise creating a dialogue with governments in order to assist them in actively keeping abreast of ever-changing developments in the crypto industry, the potential of crypto in developing the local economy and best practices for safe, smart, regulation in the industry.”

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The future

According to Emmanuel Ebanehita, Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology as a whole is well-positioned to address several economic challenges in Nigeria/Africa. 

As a whole, Binance is very enthusiastic about Nigeria and the African continent as it presents some unique opportunities for cryptocurrency adoption and development. While we are still in the early stages, this is very promising for the industry and we will continue in the advancement of blockchain adoption by providing infrastructure and ensuring that more people have access to the right information, to learn, build and scale.”

Emmanuel Ebanehita looks forward to continuing efforts to push blockchain and crypto adoption in Africa. He believes the only proper way to mass adoption for Africans is to have access to the right knowledge and understanding the true power of blockchain for financial freedom. 

“For 2023, we believe there will be a lot of innovation in the web3 space that will define how most industries, innovation and technology will be executed. With these new developments, Blockchain will be a powerhouse. We aim to double our efforts in the community, host more local meetups, masterclasses and events to ensure that more people have access to the right information.

Overall, I am excited for the future of blockchain in Africa and very grateful to play my part in accomplishing these goals.” – Emmanuel Ebanehita. 

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