The world’s largest crypto asset exchange, Binance, is mulling its Russian operations, including a complete withdrawal from the once lucrative market. The move would add Russia to the growing list of countries that Binance is pulling out of amid regulatory pressure.
According to an August 28 Wall Street Journal report citing a Binance spokesperson, “All options are on the table, including a full exit.”
Binance to Cut Russia Ties?
According to company CEO Changpeng Zhao, who announced the potential move this week, the firm is taking a wait-and-see approach.
According to the analytical resource CCData, ruble trading volume on the Binance P2P platform reached $8 billion in July.
Binance has become embroiled in a battle with US regulators, which accused the firm of non-compliance with their sanctions regime against Russia.
However, Binance claims to have restricted trading and peer-to-peer operations involving sanctioned Russian banks. Binance further limited its Russian peer-to-peer trading service on August 28. It told users in Russia that they “can’t exchange crypto tokens for currency other than rubles.”
Furthermore, the firm acknowledged previous compliance failings, said it has changed its ways, and is serious about following rules.
Other prominent crypto exchanges, such as OKX, continue to operate in Russia, but they have not been targeted by US politicians.
Anti-crypto senator Elizabeth Warren was quick to add her comments:
“I rang the alarm about sanctions evasion by Russia using the crypto platform Binance—and urged The Justice Dept to investigate potentially false statements it made to Congress. We need stronger crypto regulations to rein in illicit finance.”
Binance Back in Belgium
In related news, the firm announced on August 28 that Binance Poland “sp. z o.o.” is now the entity that provides Binance services for Belgian residents. The move follows a suspension of services in the country in June.
“By doing this, Binance ensures that it complies with its regulatory obligations and can continue to provide services to Belgian users.”
Moreover, it asked for KYC resubmission in order to comply with Polish regulations. It added that Binance Poland is able to provide crypto exchange and custodian services in line with its registration as a virtual assets service provider (VASP) in Poland.
However, Binance is having a tough time in Europe. In June, it announced withdrawal from the Netherlands after failing to secure a VASP license there. In late July, the firm withdrew its application for a license in Germany. It is also facing regulatory hurdles in the United Kingdom.
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