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Binance Europe Rollercoaster: Fiat Back On, Visa Card Off, UK Exec Out

Good news: euro payments, deposits and withdrawals have been restored. Bad news: the Head of Binance U.K. has now left the building, Visa and Mastercard have terminated their Binance Card partnerships.

It seems Binance is rarely out of the news these days, and the past week has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for the exchange in European territories. On the plus side, this does at least mean that it hasn't been all bad news.

EUR deposits and withdrawals back on

Euro payments, deposits and withdrawals were restored for European users one month after the termination of services by PaySafe, one of Binance's key payment solutions providers. At the time, users were urged to convert their fiat deposits to USDT. However, on October 19, Binance announced that it had signed agreements with new fiat partners in Europe. The names of the new partners were not disclosed, but according to Blockworks, the list includes FinTech firm TrueLayer, global payment tech company Nuvei, and several card acquirers. To migrate the accounts to the new partners, users first have to convert their EUR deposits to crypto or withdraw them.

Europe is not the only region where Binance suffers 'fiat uncertainty'. Recently Binance.US announced its transition to a crypto-only exchange, meaning that it would no longer accept USD deposits and withdrawals — until the exchange found new stable banking partners.

U.K. troubles continue as top executive steps down

Unfortunately, no new partners have been found for GBP transactions, which only goes to increase user discontent. Paysafe stopped supporting pound sterling transactions in May following a warning from the FCA, the U.K. financial regulator. Later, the exchange stopped accepting new British users after the introduction of a new crypto marketing regime in the country and is currently searching for a new FCA-authorised partner to legitimise its promotions. Amid these troubles, it was announced that Jonathan Farnell, the head of Binance UK and CEO of Bifinity, who used to play a central role in Binance’s efforts to get regulated in the U.K., left the company in late September. 

Farnell joins a growing list of top Binance executives who have left the company amid an ongoing regulatory crackdown. Last week, his European colleague, Stéphanie Cabossioras, stepped down from her role as the executive director of Binance France. Among other executives who have resigned is Saulius Galatiltis, the CEO of Lithuania-based Bifinity UAB, which, according to Binance, plays a key role for people interacting with fiat services, particularly for those in Europe. Also, in September, Gleb Kostarev, regional head of Eastern Europe, Commonwealth of Independent States, Turkey, Australia and New Zealand, and Vladimir Smerkis, Binance General Manager for Russia and CIS, announced their departures.

End of Binance partnered Visa cards

The news that Mastercard and Visa were paring back their co-branded card projects with Binance first emerged in August. Mastercard terminated its partnership with the exchange in Latin America and Bahrain this September. Now, Visa’s time has come. According to a recent blog post, Binance Visa Card services will no longer be offered in the European Economic Area. Users can use existing physical or virtual cards until December 20. To replace crypto cards, which were first launched in 2020, the exchange suggests using Binance Pay.

Allegedly, all of these issues are largely the result of the regulatory pressure being put on the exchange in different jurisdictions, especially in the U.S.

Companies and personalities appear to be afraid of spoiling their relationships with the authorities and tarnishing their reputations. Is this a bad sign for the world’s biggest exchange marking a good time to step away, or will the challenges make it stronger and true believers be rewarded? We will continue to Observe.