Binance to phase out Russian Ruble support in P2P trading

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, announced on Monday its plans to discontinue support for peer-to-peer (P2P) trading pairs in Russian Ruble (RUB) by the end of January 2024.

This decision is part of the company’s strategic exit from Russia, following its agreement to sell its Russia business to CommEx amid growing regulatory pressures.

In an official announcement, Binance stated that the support for RUB trading pairs, including major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, will cease starting from January 31, 2024, at 00:00 (UTC). The pairs to be removed include USDT/RUB, BTC/RUB, FDUSD/RUB, BNB/RUB, ETH/RUB, BUSD/RUB, and RUB/RUB.

The off-boarding process from the Russian market is expected to take up to one year. During this transition period, Binance users can continue to engage in P2P trading with the Russian Ruble free of charge on CommEX. Additionally, users have the option to withdraw their Russian rubles through Binance’s fiat partners before the deadline set by the exchange. They can also convert their RUB holdings into cryptocurrencies using Binance Convert, following a registration and account linkage with CommEX.

This move by Binance is a continuation of its gradual withdrawal from the Russian market. As early as November, the exchange began removing major cryptocurrency pairs in RUB, including ETH, BNB, XRP, ADA, SOL, MATIC, LTC, DOT, and BUSD. Furthermore, Binance has also phased out several other RUB pairs like ALGO/RUB, ARB/RUB, ARKM/RUB, ARPA/RUB, NEAR/RUB, and WLD/RUB.

Within the same context, Binance dissolved its partnership with Advanced Cash, a payment processor known as Advcash. This partnership, established in 2019, facilitated the transfer of funds between Binance and a slew of Russian banks that faced international sanctions.

The collaboration with the Belize-registered Advcash enabled customers to deposit and withdraw Russian rubles, a feature highlighted when Binance expanded its fiat-to-crypto trading capabilities. However, recent developments and increased legal scrutiny have led to a reassessment of Binance’s business engagements in Russia.

The decision to pull out of the Advcash partnership aligns with Binance’s broader strategy to withdraw from the Russian market amid allegations that the cryptocurrency exchange might be assisting in evading Western sanctions.

Binance’s exit strategy took a more definitive shape in September when it agreed to sell its Russian operations to the local crypto exchange CommEx. The handover process is expected to be gradual, potentially spanning a year.

Nevertheless, CommEX has raised questions due to its similarities to Binance in terms of user interface and its recent establishment. That led Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the former CEO of Binance, to deny being the owner of the company that acquired Binance’s business in Russia.

CZ acknowledged that some former members of the Binance CIS team may have joined the CommEX team, and he sees this as a positive development. He also mentioned that the design and APIs of CommEX are similar to Binance’s, which was done intentionally to ensure a seamless and familiar user experience for customers.