Binance says the move could boost its growth
The world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, wants to expand to Russia despite a proposed crypto ban in the country.
According to Binance Eastern European Director Gleb Kostarev, expansion to Russia is strategically important for the growth of the crypto exchange.
"Our goal is to obtain a license and conduct legal business where the regulation allows," Kostarev told Reuters, noting that Binance is expecting to see a progressive regulatory approach from Russia that could also set a precedent for similar regulations in neighboring states.
Russia has been eager to regulate its growing crypto market. According to the central bank, the country's annual volume of cryptocurrency transactions is near $5 billion.
The regulator, which has been increasingly critical of cryptocurrencies for the past several years, recently proposed a complete ban on crypto trading and mining in the country.
The proposal, however, has been met with opposition from both the public and other government ministries, who called for a more moderate approach, and regulation instead of prohibition. The Ministry of Finance said this week that regulations of this kind are already in the works, noting that crypto technologies "should get a chance to develop."
Kostarev called the ban proposal "harsh," but noted that "for now, we consider this as an invitation to dialogue with the regulator." He also said that the course Russia takes in regulating crypto may impact its neighbors.
"In Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan they are more loyal to cryptocurrencies and are taking steps towards liberalization, rather than restriction. But local regulators are taking these steps with an eye on Russia."
Cryptocurrencies are for now largely allowed in Russia and can be used for financial transactions, but their use for purchasing goods or services is prohibited.
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