Binance restricts P2P trading for Russian users

Complying with the latest EU sanctions targeting Russia, Binance started to restrict some peer-to-peer trading services for Russian accounts. The move follows the adoption of new European penalties in response to Moscow’s military escalation in Ukraine.

The world’s largest crypto exchange told users that Russian nationals and people living in the country, as well as companies based there, are not allowed to trade on its P2P marketplace using US dollar or euro. EU-based traders are also prohibited to transact in Russian rubles.

Accounts for Russia-linked users that have completed address checks and hold crypto worth less than 10,000 euros can choose other available fiat currencies.

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Binance blocked the accounts of Russian individuals who have been sanctioned, but it did not unilaterally freeze the accounts of all Russian users.

Most crypto exchanges, including Binance, initially rejected calls for a blanket ban on all Russian users to stop their platforms from being used as a way round Western sanctions. Ultimately, however, they had to comply with sanctions as the US and European regulators said that diverging from mainstream finance would weaken their attempts to isolate Moscow.

The recent sanctions forbid Russian individuals and companies from the use of cryptocurrencies as western politicians fear that the virtual asset class provides a back door to circumvent sanctions.

As a result, the world’s largest crypto exchange blocked Russian nationals or residents from making new deposits or trading if they hold over 10,000 euros. Affected clients were given 90 days to close their positions and withdraw funds.

Nevertheless, accounts for Russian nationals residing outside Russia, as verified with proof of address, that have a total value below the 10,000 EUR threshold, remain unaffected and active.

Earlier in October, the EU tightened an already prohibition on providing digital-asset services to Russia. It has imposed a sweeping ban on providing crypto services to Russians, meaning they won’t be able to hold any assets in EU crypto wallets unless they live in the bloc.

The prohibition forms part of the eighth package of restrictive measures announced by the EU against Russia as it seeks to respond to “sham” independence votes being held in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine.

This package’s other financial restrictions include a price cap on Russian oil, a ban on exporting aviation items and electronic components and restrictions on importing Russian goods that would deprive the country of seven billion euros.