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Binance Gives US Users 14 Days to Leave Exchange

In brief

  • Some Binance users in the US have received emails giving them 14 days to transfer their holdings out of the exchange.
  • According to the email, if they fail to do so, their account will be locked.
  • This is an escalation of earlier efforts to keep US users off the exchange.

Binance is again clamping down on US-based customers. And this time, it might really mean it.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange has begun sending email notifications to users in the US, where Binance has no regulatory standing, giving them 14 days to close their account.

“Dear user, as we constantly perform periodic sweeps of our existing controls, we noted that you are trying to access Binance while having identified yourself as a US person,” the email, a copy of which Decrypt has obtained, reads. “Please note that as per our terms of use, we are unable to service US persons. You have 14 days to close all active positions on your account and withdraw all your funds, failing which your account will be locked.”

This isn’t the first time Binance has asked US customers to leave, but it represents the exchange’s firmest language on the matter yet.

In July 2019, Binance gave US users 90 days—until September 12, 2019—to show evidence that they had not violated the site’s terms of service, or lose access to trading and deposit functions.

That warning came a day after Binance announced that it would be launching Binance.US in partnership with relatively unknown BAM Trading. Binance.US offers fewer token pairings and isn’t available in all states, but it is regulated, theoretically providing a soft landing for those who want to transfer their account balances.

But semi-savvy Binance users based in the US were mostly able to ignore the warnings. For one thing, Binance has partially relied on user-provided information. Customers could claim that they weren’t American when setting up an account. Binance has—in the past, at least—employed a tiered verification system that allowed users to trade/withdraw limited amounts of Bitcoin via spot trading without going through the type of Know-Your-Customer verification one might find on a US-based exchange. That meant, if they weren’t being completely honest, Americans could still use the exchange.

Earlier this month, The Block reported that Binance had begun sending out emails to users with U.S.-associated IP addresses. Anyone found to be logging in stateside was liable to receive an email giving them 90 days to switch platforms. However, with a virtual private network, users could still get around these restrictions.

Binance’s most recent crackdown comes less than a week after it announced it was suing Forbes and two of its journalists for defamation after Forbes published an article claiming the exchange had planned to set up an American subsidiary, ostensibly Binance.US, to “distract regulators with feigned interest in compliance.” 

The article further stated, “All the while, potential customers would be taught how to evade geographic restrictions while technological work-arounds were put in place.” Binance strongly denies many of the claims in the article.

Binance did not return a request for comment before publication of this article.

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