Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, said on Tuesday that it would no longer accept Mastercard and Visa cards in Russia. All transactions conducted by the two outside of Russia will be unavailable in the country as well.
The move, published on Binance’s blog, comes after the world’s major card providers declared they would discontinue services in Russia as part of sanctions against Moscow, following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Last week, American Express also discontinued business in Russia.
Russia is subject to some of the strictest US sanctions ever, including the shutdown of several large banks from the SWIFT payments network and the freezing of their foreign assets. Following the move, Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, shut down its European operations. Binance, like the majority of large cryptocurrency exchanges, has declined to entirely block Russian consumers. However, the exchanges agreed to follow US sanctions to the point that any companies that were on the US blacklist would not be able to use their platform.
Coinbase recently announced that it had disabled 25,000 Russian wallets that seemed to be involved in criminal activities. However, CEO Brian Armstrong said that a complete ban on Russian users was not in the plans. Jesse Powell, the CEO of Kraken, has also spoken out against the exclusion of Russian users. He says that Kraken will not do this unless it is legally required to do so.
The US also said that it was mulling penalties against Russian oil, the country’s main export. The measures are expected to have a huge impact on the Russian economy, which could lead to a long recession.