Binance, an exchange known for proudly presenting its “exchange the world” slogan on its promotional material, apparently decided it’s time to abandon this principle. According to sources, the exchange started blocking user accounts belonging to people from several countries of the world.
Users from Belarus, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Myanmar, Uganda and other countries received the following e-mail message from Binance in the past couple of days:
People who received these e-mails flooded Binance’s official subreddit, questioning if the posts were real and what exactly they did to deserve being on this list. It would appear that these people who were notified of their bans were in a minority, as a whole torrent of users who were also affected by this latest block never even received any official notification or communication about it from Binance.
Binance’s official terms of service have been updated in relation to these bans, but only on November 29th (a couple of days after the banhammer started dropping and after the whole Reddit drama). Most importantly, this update happened without any official communication from the exchange detailing which parts of ToS got updated.
Looking at the entire situation, it would appear that the candidly updated ToS now contains information suggesting that Binance users need to be individuals who aren’t on any trade/economic sanctions lists, specifically noting the UN Security Council Sanctions list or OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury Department) as Binance’s new guidelines.
UN’s Consolidated Sanctions List includes all individuals and entities subject to sanctions and similar measures imposed by the UN Security Council. The OFAC list notes the countries and individuals who have had economic sanctions imposed against them by the United States. These lists and programs may freeze assets of embargoed countries, prohibit payment of funds to individuals and countries on the embargo list, or prohibit provision of services to countries subject to their sanctions.
Binance seemingly took notice of these lists and decided to perform a full-ranged ban on several countries mentioned on them. OFAC list does contain most of the countries that have been banned in this recent purge so it’s likely that Binance wanted to stay compliant with the US Treasury laws more than anything else. Still, the ban is clearly a case of the exchange painting with a very broad brush, since most of the people who were denied service in the last couple of days were regular traders and investors who never took part in any criminal activities.
Another very vague sentence that has apparently been added under the “Prohibition of use” section of Binance’s ToS simply states that the exchange reserves the right to select the markets it wishes to operate on, clearly implying that they have all the power they need to deny access/service to certain countries.
Finally, the exchange added that those who’ve had their access to Binance revoked have 5 days to move their funds from the platform. One wonders how sane/genuine the person who wrote this one was, since the people who were affected by the measures cannot perform withdrawals from Binance at the moment.
At the moment of writing, there has been no official communication from Binance regarding these bans. For Binance users living in the countries affected by the block, you can regain full access to your Binance account by logging into it through a VPN service (Opera browser has a pretty good, built-VPN that you can use). We do recommend that you use this method to withdraw your funds from Binance immediately as it appears that they aren’t safu anymore.