Crypto exchange Binance to stop transfers of pounds

Crypto exchange Binance to stop transfers of pounds

Changpeng Zhao, billionaire and CEO of Binance Holdings Ltd., speaks during a session at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022.

Zed Jameson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Binance is halting its deposits and withdrawals of sterling, a spokesperson for the company said on Tuesday, a month after the world’s largest crypto exchange halted dollar transfers.

Binance has been informed by its sterling transfer partner, Paysafe, that it would stop its services from sterling transfers for new users stopped on Monday, it said.

“Binance will ensure that affected users continue to have access to their GBP balances,” the spokesperson said, adding that the change “affects less than 1% of Binance users.”

Binance, which has more than 128 million customers, did not provide details on the number of customers the move would affect. The company is working to find an “alternative solution” for sterling transfers, the spokesperson said.

The cessation of sterling transfers, first reported by crypto news outlet The Block, is the latest obstacle for Binance to gain access to traditional currencies. Last month, Binance suspended all bank transfers in dollars due to an increasing crackdown on crypto by the US government.

The Justice Department is also investigating Binance, run by billionaire CEO Changpeng Zhao, for suspected money laundering and sanctions violations, Reuters previously reported. A top Binance executive told The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg last month that Binance expected to pay penalties to resolve US investigations into the company.

A further hurdle for Binance to access dollars came after the US Securities and Exchange Commission told the company that issued its “BUSD” stablecoin that it was considering taking action against it. The move triggered about $6 billion in outflows earlier this month.

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The significance of sterling funding for Binance is unclear. The company does not disclose its finances, with the core of its business – the giant exchange – mostly hidden from the public eye.

Paysafe did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

The company offers the service through UK payment network Faster Payments, which also had no immediate comment.

A spokesperson for Skrill, the Paysafe entity that works with Binance, told crypto website Decrypt that “the UK regulatory environment in relation to crypto is too challenging to offer this service at this time and therefore this is a sensible decision on our part made in an abundance of caution.”

Britain’s financial watchdog said last year it lacked the power to stop Binance from accessing the Faster Payments network via Paysafe.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned consumers in June 2021 that Binance did not have “any form” of permission to offer services regulated by the UK.

The FCA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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