The exchange is exploring a range of options, including a full exit from the Russian market, days after imposing fiat restrictions on Russian-based P2P users.
Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, is contemplating a significant shift in its operations in response to mounting regulatory obstacles, particularly in Russia.
A Binance spokesperson recently told the Wall Street Journal that the company is exploring a range of possibilities, including the potential decision to withdraw entirely from the Russian market.
“All options are on the table, including a full exit,” the spokesperson said.
The statement doesn’t come as a surprise: on August 22, the WSJ reported that Binance was listing sanctioned Russian banks as transfer methods on its P2P platform, attracting scrutiny. “Binance is helping Russians move money abroad,” the WSJ article declared, “potentially adding to its sprawling legal problems in the US”.
Binance however said it wasn’t aware that users could access sanctioned banks through the platform. A spokesperson said that “when gaps are pointed out to us, we seek to address and remediate them as soon as possible.”
By August 25, Binance delisted five sanctioned Russian banks and imposed fiat currency restrictions for Russia-based users, suggesting a more cautious approach.
“Users residing in Russia can trade on Binance P2P only in fiat currency in rubles. Any other fiat currencies are prohibited,” Binance said.
Crypto exchanges OKX and Bybit followed suit, cutting off sanctioned Tinkoff Bank and Sberbank from their P2P transactions.
East or West, Binance is working through troubles
Binance doesn’t have a physical headquarters and has an extensive network of operations around the world. It has run into a series of regulatory troubles over the past year, most notably in the US.
In June, the US Securities and Exchange (SEC) Commission sued Binance and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao, on 13 charges, including mishandling customers’ funds, misleading investors, and blatant disregard of securities laws in the country.
This resulted in a strained relationship between Binance and its banking partners, but things are now looking somewhat more optimistic for the platform following a new partnership with Moonpay.
Zhao has passionately defended the exchange and its willingness to follow regulations.
Referring to the SEC ordeal, he tweeted: “This fight has damaged our business and our reputation but not our fighting spirit or our resolve to defend ourselves against unwarranted charges and “regulation by enforcement” tactics that do not belong in our system of justice.”
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