Binance is reportedly allowing users to purchase crypto with Russian bank cards after curbing its service in the country following international sanctions.
According to the Russian blogger Kirill Sergeev, the exchange quietly reintroduced compatibility with Russian bank-issued cards this week.
EU Sanctions and Russia’s Crypto
Binance’s crackdown on Russian accounts began following international sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.
The first move came in March when Binance blocked transactions with cards issued by banks located in the Russian Federation. That decision followed a major withdrawal of Visa and Mastercard, who both ceased providing network services in the country.
A month later, in response to EU sanctions, Binance deactivated the accounts of many of its major clients. Since then, Russian users that hold crypto worth over 10,000 euros have been banned from making new deposits or trading. Users with less than 10,000 euros in crypto remained active.
Russia Turns to Alternative PayTech
Since the invasion of Ukraine Russia has found itself increasingly locked out of critical payments infrastructure like the Swift network. Accordingly, in the wake of sweeping sanctions imposed in 2022, building new cross-border payment channels has become imperative.
In a speech this month, CBR Governor Elvira Nabiullina outlined the approach taken so far.
She said that in recent years the country has invested in its domestic infrastructure. From the beginning, “we were building these systems in such a way as to ensure their interoperability with foreign partners,” she added. Moreover, she said that developing a system of international settlements is one of the CBR’s top priorities.
CBDCs and Crypto a Potential Solution
With many of the existing payment channels between Russia and its trading partners handicapped, the country has turned to alternative technologies.
For example, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) is developing payment gateways to integrate with foreign systems. It is working directly with its counterparts in Turkey in this area. Meanwhile, earlier this year, Russia and Iran began collaborating on an interbank payment network.
The CBR is also working on a bill that will introduce an “experimental legal regime” for cryptocurrencies to be used for international transactions.
The ongoing development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) has also turned toward the challenge of cross-border payments. Speaking with lawmakers this week, CBR officials suggested that the digital ruble platform will be able to interoperate with other CBDCs.