Crypto Exchanges OKX and Bybit Cut Off Russian Banks Amid Regulatory Pressure

by Aug 29, 2023CryptoNews0 comments

Two major cryptocurrency exchanges, OKX and Bybit, have decided to stop offering payment services through Russian banks, following the recent regulatory crackdown on crypto-related activities in the country.

According to an announcement on Monday, OKX will no longer support deposits and withdrawals via cards or bank accounts issued by Russian banks from Sept. 30. The exchange said that the decision was made in response to the new requirements from the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) that oblige financial institutions to block transactions related to crypto platforms.

Similarly, Bybit also announced on Monday that it will terminate its partnership with Mercuryo, a payment service provider that allows users to buy and sell crypto with fiat currencies. As a result, Bybit users will not be able to use Russian bank cards or accounts to fund their accounts from Sept. 28. The exchange said that the decision was made to comply with the local regulations and protect its users’ interests.

The moves by OKX and Bybit come amid increasing pressure from the Russian authorities on the crypto industry. In July, the CBR issued a directive that instructed banks and payment providers to identify and block transactions related to crypto platforms, citing the risks of money laundering, terrorism financing, and tax evasion. In August, the CBR also proposed a new set of rules that would require crypto exchanges to report their transactions and user data to the authorities.

The Russian crypto community has expressed its concerns and frustrations over the regulatory uncertainty and hostility in the country. Some experts have warned that the restrictive measures could drive the crypto market underground and harm the innovation and development of the industry. Some users have also reported that their bank accounts have been frozen or closed due to their involvement in crypto activities.

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Despite the challenges, some crypto platforms have vowed to continue their operations in Russia and provide alternative payment methods for their users. For instance, Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, said that it will still support deposits and withdrawals via AdvCash, a payment system that allows users to convert fiat currencies to stablecoins. Binance also said that it will keep monitoring the situation and update its users accordingly.

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