Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, has announced that it will cease its Visa debit card services in the European Economic Area (EEA) by December 20, 2023. The EEA includes all 27 member states of the European Union, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.
The Binance Visa debit card was launched in September 2020 and allowed users to convert and spend cryptocurrencies from their Binance accounts in over 60 million online and physical stores. The card was issued by Contis Financial Services, a Lithuanian-based electronic money institution and currency exchange operator.
Committed to complying with local regulations
According to a statement from Binance, the discontinuation of the card services is due to a decision by Contis, which is a subsidiary of the German banking-as-a-service platform Solaris Group. Binance said that this development will not affect existing Binance accounts and that users can still access their funds through other methods.
Binance also said that it will continue to explore new ways to provide its users with more convenient and secure payment options. The exchange added that it is committed to complying with local regulations and working with regulators to foster innovation and growth in the crypto industry.
Challenging times for Binance
The announcement comes amid a series of challenges that Binance has faced recently in various markets. The exchange has been under increased regulatory scrutiny from authorities in countries such as the UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and the US. Some of these regulators have accused Binance of operating without proper licenses or authorizations, or offering products or services that pose risks to investors or consumers.
As a result, Binance has suspended or terminated some of its services or partnerships in certain regions. For example, Binance stopped accepting new users from the UK after losing a third-party service provider. It also reinstated its euro deposits and withdrawals after a month-long suspension due to a severed relationship with Paysafe, a payments processor. Additionally, Mastercard terminated its partnership with Binance in several countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Bahrain, in September 2023.
A vision to become a global force in crypto services
Binance has been trying to address these issues by enhancing its compliance and risk management capabilities. The exchange has hired former regulators and industry veterans to lead its legal and regulatory affairs. It has also implemented new measures such as mandatory identity verification for all users, withdrawal limits based on verification levels, and travel rule compliance for cross-border transactions.
Binance has also expressed its willingness to cooperate with regulators and seek licenses or approvals where necessary. The exchange’s CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) has said that Binance’s vision is to become a licensed financial institution that can offer a wide range of crypto-related products and services to its global user base.