World’s Leading P2P Platform Leaves Russia

Published: 29 September 2023

BinanceThe world's leading P2P platform decided to fully exit the Russian market. (Photo: Web Summit, Flickr, License)

By Zdravko Ljubas

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, announced on Wednesday that it has initiated the process of selling its Russian operations to a newly established “community exchange” and will be completely exiting the nation.

“Binance has entered into an agreement to sell the entirety of its Russia business to CommEX,” the company said in a statement.

Binance emphasized that, while financial details of the transaction would not be disclosed, it is essential to note that “with this sale, Binance is fully exiting Russia.”

“Unlike similar deals from international companies in Russia, Binance will have no ongoing revenue split from the sale, nor does it retain any option to repurchase shares in the business,” the statement read.

The exchange business said that it would ensure a smooth transition for existing Russian customers during the off-boarding process, which may take up to a year, and that “all assets of existing Russian users are safe and securely protected.”

The news about the transition comes less than a month after Binance started considering an exit from the Russian market due to potential regulatory challenges in the United States. Earlier this year, U.S. authorities launched an investigation into whether Binance was enabling Russians to evade U.S. sanctions imposed following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Utilizing a peer-to-peer (P2P) service, Binance’s exchange platform operates as a decentralized platform where two users connect directly without intermediaries. This means that buyers and sellers interact directly, using services such as search, screening, rating, payment processing, or escrow.

Following international sanctions, Binance reportedly halted the acceptance of deposits from Visa and Mastercard cards issued in Russia in March 2022. However, restrictions were lifted in April this year, enabling Russian users to deposit rubles, euros, British pounds, and other currencies onto the platform using bank cards issued in Russia.

“As we look toward the future, we recognize that operating in Russia is not compatible with Binance’s compliance strategy,” said Binance’s Chief Compliance Officer, Noah Perlman.

Despite abandoning the significant Russian market, he expressed optimism in the long-term growth of the Web3 business globally, and Binance would focus its efforts on the more than 100 countries in which it operates.