Binance has been limiting its services and products across the globe, and China is the latest. The exchange announced on Wednesday that it would halt its peer-to-peer trading service in China by the end of the year, finally exiting a market that it has been withdrawing from partially for years.
The Chinese digital currency market has been hostile for the past four years ever since the government started cracking down on exchanges back in 2017. Since then, many exchanges have been forced to halt their services, either partially or fully.
Binance was among the latter, stopping its exchange business in the country but keeping its P2P platform. This platform allowed Chinese users to purchase digital currencies among themselves, with the order matching happening on Binance while the payment was done through local regulated channels.
Now, the embattled exchange is shutting down even this service. In an announcement on its website, Binance stated, “In response to the regulatory requirements of the local government, Binance C2C will delist the CNY trading zone at 24:00 (East Eighth District Time) on December 31, 2021.”
The exchange will also begin an inventory of its users, and if they are found to be located in mainland China, their corresponding accounts will be switched to withdraw-only mode. Such users will only be able to withdraw, redeem or close positions.
It added, “Binance withdrew from the Chinese mainland market in 2017 and does not engage in exchange business in mainland China. Binance has always attached great importance to compliance obligations and has always strictly complied with the relevant requirements of local regulatory agencies.”
The latest move by Binance follows other similar restrictions as it battles to stay in operation in light of regulatory crackdowns. Just a week ago, it announced that it had stopped offering digital currency futures, options, margins, and leveraged tokens for users in South Africa. It claimed that the move was made in order to align its services with local regulations. The country’s financial regulator had warned that Binance Group was offering services illegally as it had not acquired the necessary operating licenses.
In September, the exchange had to halt its services in Singapore after local regulators warned that it was operating without a license, yet again. Binance halted Singaporean dollar trading pairs and payment options and also removed its app from the app stores for Singaporean users.
It’s been a similar tale in Hong Kong where the exchange had to halt derivatives trading, as well as in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.
WeChat joins Weibo and Baidu in blocking Binance searches
As it winds down its services in China, the country’s most popular messaging app seems to be censoring searches for Binance and Huobi in a crackdown that started earlier this year. According to reports, searches in English for either exchange are returned with a message saying “no more results.”
WeChat is China’s largest messaging app and the only app in the country to have over one billion active users. It now joins Baidu and Weibo, the dominant search engine and social media platforms in the Asian country respectively in censoring digital currency-related platforms. The two started a coordinated effort to censor keywords of the three largest exchanges in China—Binance, Huobi, and OKEx back in June this year.
Together, the three platforms hold an overwhelming majority of the Chinese messaging and Internet markets, dealing yet another blow to the already battered digital currency space in the world’s second-largest economy.
While Binance has now announced it will be leaving China completely by the end of the year, its peers have exited already. Huobi stopped registering users from mainland China back in September. OKEx has also been winding up its operations, stating, “OKEX will press on with its policy to exit the market of mainland China, and refrain from setting up offices there.”