Russian users – even some not located in the aggressor state of Russia – are complaining that they are having problems using the crypto exchange Binance.
The Telegram-based Russian financial news channel Banksta reported that the Binance exchange had “decided to punish Russians, regardless of their country of residence.” It wrote: “If [you are] Russian, then […] transfers to international banks are impossible.”
The channel also published screenshots of an apparent chat conversation between a Russian-speaking member of Binance staff and a customer. The customer in question claimed that they were a resident of the United Arab Emirates, but the Binance staff member appears to have answered that the reason why transfers had been blocked in this customer’s case was that when the customer originally signed up to Binance, they had chosen “Russia” as their country of residence.
Last month, Binance announced that, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, all Russian nationals, residents of Russia, and companies based in the country holding cryptoassets worth over USD 10,400 would be banned from making deposits and trading on its platform. However, the exchange – at the time – stated that its new protocols would not apply in the case of Russians living abroad if they had completed address verification checks.
The Russian media outlet BFM quoted the Crypto-A CEO Alena Narignani as stating that users could find workarounds that would let them transfer their funds – namely by withdrawing crypto funds to a non-exchange wallet and then using this wallet to conduct a transfer to fiat. But, she added, this would incur more in the way of commission fees.
But Alexander Treshchev, a lawyer and the Co-chairman of the Russian Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain industry group, opined that exchanges would likely close off any potential loopholes – and would eventually comply with the spirit of sanctions aimed at “complicating life” for Russians and “limiting their ability to use money.”
Treshchev noted that exchanges have already said “that they will comply with the instructions of any government bodies related to sanctions against Russia.”
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