Crypto Exchange Binance Reduces Services to Russian Accounts, in accordance with EU Penalties
Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, has stopped providing services to Russian citizens or natural persons residing in Russia.
According to the company's announcement, this move is in accordance with the fifth set of sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russia. In April, EU member states had agreed that they would ban the provision of crypto asset services of high value to Russian citizens and businesses as a response to Moscow's military invasion of Ukraine.
Customers must now complete the address verification at Binance. The exchange stated that accounts that fall under this restriction will be placed in withdrawal-only mode and their holders won't be allowed to trade or deposit. This applies to spot, futures and custody wallets as well as staked and earned deposits.
All deposits to accounts of Russian citizens, residents, or Russia-based legal entities exceeding EUR10,000 will be subject to restrictions. Users who have open futures/derivatives positions that have excess balances will be required to close them within 90 days. They won't have the ability to open any new positions.
Binance stressed that accounts of Russian nationals living outside of the Russian Federation, as well as those of Russian citizens, residents and companies in Russia, will not be affected by the decision and will continue to function.
Binance must be the industry leader in implementing sanctions, even though these measures could prove restrictive for ordinary Russian citizens. The company stated that it believes all major exchanges should follow these rules.
Different crypto exchanges have had different reactions to the conflict in Ukraine. Major South Korean platforms blocked access to Russians within days of their invasion, but leading global platforms like Binance refused a request from the Kyiv government to unilaterally freeze all Russian accounts.
Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO, told Bloomberg in March that the exchange had frozen the accounts of sanctioned Russians but denied that it would be ethical to block all Russians accessing the platform. He also dismissed fears that cryptocurrencies might help Moscow bypass western sanctions.