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Crypto exchangeis considering a withdrawal from the Russian market, according to media reports.
A Binance spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that, "All options are on the table, including a full exit.” Earlier this week, the WSJ reported, Binance blocked users in Russia from exchanging cryptocurrencies other than rubles on its peer-to-peer trading service.
Binance declined Decrypt’s request for further comments on the matter.
The move follows a Wall Street Journal report last week that Binance was enabling “substantial” ruble trading volumes involving sanctioned Russian banks, and a Bloomberg report in May that the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating the exchange for possible sanctions violations.
Earlier this month, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren urged the DOJ to inspect “sanctions evasion by Russia using the crypto platform Binance” in a tweet. She added, “We need stronger crypto regulations to rein in illicit finance.”
The United States, the European Union, and many other countries have imposed sweeping economic sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
These sanctions have targeted Russia's central bank, major banks, and wealthy individuals, limiting the country's access to foreign currency reserves and its ability to convert Russian rubles to other global currencies.
Binance, along with and other crypto exchanges operating within Russia including ByBit and OKX, recently delisted two banks from their platform to adhere to U.S. sanctions.
In April 2022, Binance began taking “restrictive measures” against Russian users and entities, limiting accounts with more than €10,000 (~$10,900) in crypto to “withdrawal-only mode” following a package of EU sanctions directed at Russia.
Binance’s legal troubles mount
Binance is also currently in the middle of a regulatory storm in the U.S., with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suing the exchange and its CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao for offering unregistered securities to U.S. customers.
The lawsuit further accuses Binance of misleading investors about its compliance with U.S. laws while failing to prevent market manipulation and insider trading.
Over the past few months, Binance has withdrawn operating license applications in Austria, the Netherlands and Cyprus. In June, the exchange also lost its partnership with European banking partner PaySafe.
Outside Europe, the exchange requested the cancellation of its derivatives business license in Australia a day before the country’s securities regulator announced that it would end the license, and has ceased operations in Canada.
The exchange also faces an investigation by the French authorities, which have accused Binance of “acts of aggravated money laundering.”