Binance to exit Russia and discontinue Ruble amid regulatory scrutiny

Binance removes Ruble and exits Russia as it bolsters compliance efforts.

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, has announced that it will discontinue support for its platform’s Russian Ruble (RUB) trading pairs starting January 31, 2024. This decision is part of Binance’s exit strategy from Russia following the sale of its local division to CommEX.

Earlier this year, Binance sold its Russian exchange to local entity CommEX after coming under scrutiny from the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) for allegedly facilitating transactions with sanctioned Russian entities following the invasion of Ukraine.

“Following the decision of exiting Russia with sale to CommEx, Binance P2P will no longer support the Russian Ruble (RUB) trading pairs,” Binance stated in a notice today. 

Despite the sale, Binance has continued to support ruble trading on its peer-to-peer (P2P) platform. The exchange is ending RUB support entirely, aiming to bolster compliance efforts more broadly.

Users can still conduct ruble trades fee-free on CommEX using their Binance accounts. Before the deadline, Binance allows users to withdraw rubles via fiat partners, convert them to crypto, or trade them on the Binance spot market.

The ruble removal marks Binance’s latest effort to scale back services associated with Russia as sanctions ramp up. Regulators worldwide are applying more pressure on crypto’s leading centralized exchanges to bolster anti-money laundering controls and reduce sanctions evasion. 

This move comes in the wake of Binance’s recent regulatory challenges. In November 2023, Binance settled with OFAC for $3.4 billion in fines related to apparent violations of multiple sanctions programs. The settlement agreement included significant remedial measures, such as revamped compliance policies and procedures, requiring all users to pass KYC, and periodic customer reviews.

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