Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, has quietly lifted restrictions on its services for Russian users. The exchange had imposed limitations on Russian accounts last year in response to the financial sanctions imposed by Europe and the US on Russia over the Ukraine conflict. However, the exchange’s recent move to remove restrictions went unannounced, raising questions about Binance’s motivations.
Russian users can now deposit Russian rubles, euros, British pounds, and other currencies using bank cards issued in Russia. The exchange also lifted the limit on balances of more than EUR 10,000 on Russia-linked accounts. However, Binance still maintains restrictions on peer-to-peer trades in dollars and euros for Russian users, who can only use the service for the Russian ruble.
The lifting of restrictions came as a surprise, given the EU’s recent extension of cryptocurrency sanctions against Russia. In August 2022, the EU imposed a crypto wallet cap of EUR 10,000 on Russian accounts, which was later broadened to a crypto payment ban, preventing Russians from using any crypto service registered in the EU.
Binance’s move to lift restrictions without a public announcement raises questions about its motives. While the exchange has confirmed that all current sanctions related to Russian nationals are applied, it remains unclear why it lifted restrictions on Russian accounts.