Sterling transactions blocked on crypto exchange Binance, users say

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© Reuters. Representations of cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, DogeCoin, Ripple, and Litecoin are seen in front of a displayed Binance logo in this illustration taken, June 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

By Tom Wilson

LONDON (Reuters) -Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, said on Wednesday that sterling withdrawals from its platform had been reactivated, with users also able to buy digital coins with debit and credit cards.

The exchange’s customers said on Tuesday they were unable to deposit or withdraw sterling from the platform, days after regulators in Britain cracked down on some of its activities in the country.

Binance users had said they were unable to withdraw or deposit sterling via the Faster Payments network – which enables mobile, internet and other payments between British bank accounts – or bank cards.

A Binance spokesperson said withdrawals via the Faster Payments network were reactivated on Tuesday, adding that bank card purchases of crypto were again possible.

Many users complained that Binance had given no information about transactions being blocked, beyond a “down for maintenance” message.

Binance had said the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) move would not impact services offered on its website, access to which by British residents was unaffected by the crackdown.

Later on Wednesday, the crypto exchange displayed a notice on its Binance.co.uk website stating that Binance Markets Limited, a UK based company, was not permitted to undertake regulated activities in the country.

It tweeted the same statement from its Binance.UK twitter handle. However, Reuters could not find a notice on the Binance.com website or under the Binance twitter handle.

The FCA had told the company to post the notice on Binance.com, its mobile and desktop applications and social media channels by the close of business on Wednesday.

Both Binance and the FCA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Late on Wednesday, the regulator posted a notice https:// that the crypto trading platform should “not promote or accept any new applications for lending by retail customers through the operation of its electronic lending system”.

The exchange also “must cease marketing any reference to EddieUK/Binance/BinanceUK being an FCA regulated platform for buying and trading cryptocurrencies”, it added.

While crypto trading is not directly regulated in Britain, offering services such as trading in cryptocurrency derivatives does require authorisation.

Headed by Canadian Changpeng Zhao, Binance is coming under increasing scrutiny by regulators globally, many of which have voiced concern over the use of cryptocurrencies in general for money laundering and other crimes.

Binance offers services ranging from digital token trading to derivatives, as well as emerging technology such as tokenised versions of stocks. Its own cryptocurrency, Binance Coin, is the world’s fourth-biggest with a market value of around $45 billion.

Crypto exchange Binance says sterling withdrawals reactivated after outage

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