Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, has reportedly lifted its restrictions on Russian citizens and residents, allowing them to use locally issued Mastercard and Visa cards to deposit money on the exchange. According to a report from crypto news website Forklog, the restrictions, which were put in place over a year ago in response to sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union, have now been lifted.
Last year, following the EU's decision to impose sanctions on Russia in response to its attack on Ukraine, Binance announced that it would not support deposits from Visa and Mastercard cards issued in Russia, as well as any Visa and Mastercard deposits made from Russia. This restriction caused inconvenience to Russian users, who were unable to deposit funds on the platform.
However, Binance seems to have lifted the ban quietly, allowing users to deposit Russian rubles, euros, British pounds, and other currencies from bank cards issued in Russia. In addition, in April, Russian users reported that Binance had lifted the limits for accounts with balances larger than 10,000 euros.
Binance has not officially released a statement regarding these changes, but a spokesperson for the exchange told CoinDesk that "all current restrictions related to sanctions against Russian nationals are applied by the platform and its legal entities in the European Union in full." This statement suggests that Binance may have found a way to work around the sanctions imposed on Russia, allowing it to lift the restrictions on its Russian users.
The lifting of restrictions is good news for Russian cryptocurrency users, who have been facing increasing difficulty in accessing cryptocurrency services due to the broadening of EU sanctions. Last year, the EU prohibited crypto services from serving Russian users with account balances over 10,000 euros, and this threshold was eliminated in the fall, making it impossible for Russian citizens and residents to use any crypto service registered in the EU.
As a result, many popular cryptocurrency exchanges and services, including LocalBitcoins, Crypto.com, and Blockchain.com, notified Russian users that their accounts would soon be discontinued. However, with Binance lifting its restrictions, Russian users now have access to one of the world's largest and most popular cryptocurrency exchanges.