Binance appears to have blocked the account of at least one of its users at the instruction of Ukrainian law enforcement. The user claims to have never done any cryptocurrency-related activities outside of Russia.
The customer affected by the sudden closure goes by the username of Alexander M. on the platform. His Binance account was reportedly frozen on January 7.
Ukraine, Russia and Binance
According to a report in local news publication RBC.ru, Alexander was informed that his account was frozen via email. It read: “Your account is currently under the review of Ukrainian police in Ukraine. You may liaise with them for further information.”
It is not immediately clear what the Ukrainian police have to do with the cryptocurrency trader. Alexander is a Russian citizen and claims to have never done any business involving cryptocurrency outside of his home nation. However, he has been left unable to access his own holdings on the platform pending “know your customer” checks.
Buy a Coin Get Your Account Blocked!
Alexander believes that the sudden freezing of his account is related to his recent purchases of the stablecoin US Dollar Tether (USDT). He told the publication that he bought some USDT on December 23 from a contact. He paid cash for the cryptocurrency and the seller transferred the same value of USDT from his Binance account.
After learning that his account had been frozen, Alexander contacted the seller again. He informed Alexander that his own Binance account had been locked for two weeks at that point. The exchange had reportedly given no explanation for this.
Alexander then appealed to the platform’s customer support department. He was instructed to film himself holding his passport and a piece of paper requesting the account be unlocked. After fulfilling the requirements, he was then told that his account was under review and to expect an answer within 30 days.
Speaking to the news publication, the head of Binance Russia, Gleb Kostarev, said that such locks at the request of authorities were indeed possible. He also asked reporters not to spread “FUD” in the market.
Binance is a global cryptocurrency exchange that provides a platform for trading more than 100 cryptocurrencies. Since early 2018, Binance is considered as the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world in terms of trading volume.
The company was founded in China but moved its servers and headquarters out of China and into Japan in advance of the Chinese government ban on cryptocurrency trading in September 2017. By March 2018 the company had established offices in Taiwan.
As of January 2018 it was largest cryptocurrency exchange with a Binance coin (BNB) market capitalization of $1.3 billion. In March 2018, Binance announced its intentions to open an office in Malta after stricter regulations in Japan and China.
In April 2018, Binance signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Bermuda. Months later, a similar memorandum was signed with the Malta Stock Exchange to develop a platform for trading security tokens.
In 2019, company announced Binance Jersey, an independent entity from its parent Binance.com exchange, with the aim to expand its European influence. Jersey based exchange offers fiat-to-cryptocurrency pairs, including the Euro and the British pound.
In August 2018, Binance along with three other big exchanges raised $32 million for a stable coin project. The idea of stable coins is to provide a cryptocurrency without the notorious volatility of Bitcoin and other popular digital assets.