March 24, 2023

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The top crypto exchange in the world in terms of trading volume, Binance has announced that its services would be restricted for natural persons living in Russia or its nationals as well as legal entities in the country with crypto assets that are valued at more than $10,800. Binance made the announcement on Thursday after the fifth sanctions package was announced by the European Union on Russia. The member states of the EU had come to an agreement earlier in April for banning crypto-asset services of ‘high value’ to citizens and businesses in the Russian Federation because of the military operation that the country has launched in Ukraine.

Now, address verification has become a requirement for all Binance users. The exchange said that the accounts falling under the new restrictions would only be allowed to make withdrawals. The account holders will not be permitted to trade or make deposits. This is also applicable to earned or staked deposits, futures, custody wallets and spots. Furthermore, no deposits will be allowed in accounts of Russian citizens and companies based in Russia that have a balance of more than€10,000. In the case of users who have a higher balance and have open derivatives/futures position, they will have a time period of 90 days to close them and will not be permitted to open new ones.

However, Binance emphasized that Russian companies, residents and citizens who have account balances below this amount will not have to deal with any restrictions. Likewise, Russian nations living outside the country will also be able to use their accounts as routine. The company said that the new measures did limit the activities of regular citizens in Russia, the exchange has to lead the industry when it comes to compliance with sanctions. Binance stated that all other exchanges would have to adopt the same approach.

Crypto exchanges have had varied reactions to the invasion of Ukraine. Days after Russia invaded the country, access of the country’s users had been restricted by South Korean exchanges. The government of Kyiv had requested global platforms to freeze accounts of Russian users unilaterally, but exchanges like Binance had denied the request. Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, had stated in early March that accounts of sanctioned individuals from Russia had been frozen, but said blocking ordinary Russian users would be considered ‘unethical’. He also dismissed the possibility of crypto being used for sanction evasion.

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