Binance, a digital asset exchange, has limited its services to Russian clients in response to the latest round of EU sanctions against Russia. The company promised to lead the industry in enforcing the sanctions, urging all major trading platforms to do the same.
Binance, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, is restricting services for Russian nationals or natural persons residing in Russia and legal entities established in the Russian Federation that have crypto assets exceeding €10,000 ($10,800) in value.
The move is in compliance with the European Union’s fifth package of sanctions on Russia, the company said in an announcement on Thursday. Earlier in April, the EU member states agreed to ban the provision of “high-value” crypto asset services to Russian businesses and citizens in response to Moscow’s ongoing military invasion of Ukraine.
Binance now requires customers to complete their address verification. Accounts that classify under this restriction will be put into withdrawal-only mode, the exchange explained, and their holders will not be allowed to make deposits or trade. The same applies to spot, futures, custody wallets, and staked and earned deposits.
Furthermore, all deposits to accounts for Russian nationals and residents or Russia-based legal entities with over €10,000 will be restricted. Users with open futures/derivatives positions who have balances exceeding that amount will have 90 days to close them out and won’t be able to open new positions.
At the same time, accounts of Russian nationals residing outside the Russian Federation and those of Russian citizens, residents, and companies in Russia that remain below the €10,000-threshold will not be affected and will remain active, Binance emphasized.
“While these measures are potentially restrictive to normal Russian citizens, Binance must continue to lead the industry in implementing these sanctions. We believe all other major exchanges must follow the same rules soon,” the company stated.
Reactions to the conflict in Ukraine have varied among crypto exchanges. While major South Korean platforms restricted Russians’ access days after their country invaded, leading global platforms, including Binance, denied a request by the government in Kyiv to unilaterally freeze the accounts of all Russian users.
In early March, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao told Bloomberg the exchange was freezing the accounts of sanctioned Russian individuals but insisted that blocking all Russians from accessing the platform would be “unethical.” The executive also dismissed concerns that cryptocurrencies could help Moscow circumvent western sanctions.