Binance, a leading cryptocurrency exchange, announced its plans to pull out of Russia, intending to discontinue local currency deposits and shutting down operations within the country.
Following the announcement, Binance is set to stop accepting deposits in Russian rubles effective November 15, 2023. This decision is part of the exchange’s strategic move to gradually wind down its services within Russia. Users have been advised to withdraw any remaining RUB from the platform, as Binance anticipates terminating RUB withdrawals entirely by January 31, 2024.
In the wake of the exit plan, Binance has outlined alternative options for users to move their funds out of the exchange. Users can transfer their balances to CommEX, a new crypto exchange that acquired Binance’s Russian division in September 2023. The announcement also highlighted that RUB withdrawals on CommEX will be zero-fee, providing an enticing option for users who seek to continue their crypto trading activities. Additionally, users can explore options with Binance’s fiat partners, allowing them to convert RUB to cryptocurrency using the “Convert” tool or engage in trading on the Binance Spot Market.
Notably, the withdrawal of rubles through fiat partners may be subject to a fee of up to 1%. Binance has assured its users that while there may be minimal fees associated with certain withdrawal options, the exchange is working to make the transition as seamless as possible.
The decision to exit the Russian market follows Binance’s sale of its Russian division to CommEX, a move announced in late September 2023. The sale, however, triggered speculation and raised questions about the lack of transparency surrounding the deal. Details about the size of the transaction and the ownership of CommEX were not made public, leading to concerns and controversies within the crypto community.
Critics and industry observers have expressed skepticism, speculating that CommEX could be a newly formed subsidiary of Binance, allowing the exchange to continue its operations in Russia while evading the impact of Western sanctions on the country. These allegations found support in the fact that CommEX has reportedly recruited former executives from Binance with a focus on Russian-related operations.
In response to the accusations and speculations, Binance has vehemently denied maintaining any ties to CommEX following the transaction. A Binance spokesperson reiterated that the sale of its Russian division signifies a complete exit from the Russian market and that the exchange has no intentions of returning.
The strategic move made by Binance reflects the challenges and uncertainties faced by cryptocurrency businesses in navigating their operations within the ever-evolving global regulatory landscape. As the situation unfolds, both Binance and CommEX will undoubtedly face increased scrutiny and attention in the coming months as they navigate the aftermath of the high-profile exit from Russia’s crypto market.