Cryptocurrency exchange giant Binance is considering an exit from the Russian market, a decision fueled by a series of controversies that have engulfed the company’s operations within the region. The Wall Street Journal broke the story on August 28, revealing that a Binance representative had confirmed the possibility of a complete withdrawal from the Russian market.
The representative’s statement echoed a sentiment of uncertainty, noting that “all options are on the table, including a full exit.” This revelation comes as a shock to the global crypto community, as Binance has long been a prominent player in the industry, and the Russian market represents a significant user base for the platform.
The announcement of a potential Russian exit coincides with an update shared on Binance’s Russian Telegram channel, which outlines several new regulations for users engaging in peer-to-peer (P2P) exchanges. Notably, Binance has restricted P2P trading in rubles (RUB) to only KYC-verified users residing within Russia. This strategic move is aimed at aligning with local regulatory requirements and preventing potential money laundering activities.
One of the significant changes is the prohibition of non-Russian users from trading rubles on Binance’s P2P exchange. Additionally, users located outside of Russia will no longer be able to engage in trading with the euro (EUR), the U.S. dollar (USD), or the Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH) on the platform. This shift in trading options is likely to have a considerable impact on the way international users conduct transactions through the exchange.
Interestingly, it has come to light that rubles are no longer available as an option for non-Russian users. During an attempt to access Binance’s P2P platform from a U.S. location, the absence of rubles from the list of supported currencies was conspicuous. However, an exception was noted with the presence of a Russia-based trader who continued to rely on non-ruble currencies via a foreign bank.
The recent controversies surrounding Binance in the Russian market were ignited by its previous support for certain sanctioned Russian banks on its P2P platform. The company’s decision to remove five of these banks on August 25 was seen as a step toward damage control. Nonetheless, the lingering support for various other Russian payment options added to the ongoing controversy. At the time of the initial uproar, around 16 banks and payment channels were listed as available on Binance’s P2P platform.