Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has claimed that it will fully quit Russia by selling its local business to a completely new exchange known as CommEx. While promising its customers a “smooth” migration, Binance hasn’t provided much information about its successor in Russia.
At the time of the announcement, little is known about CommEx’s founders or background. The exchange was launched on Sept. 26, 2023, or just one day before Binance announced the sale of its business to the newly created exchange for an undisclosed amount.
A spokesperson for CommEx didn’t respond to multiple questions from users about the company’s owners or executives in the official Telegram group. The person claimed that CommEx is registered in Seychelles and will serve its customers as a global exchange, focused on two main regions: the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Asia.
CommEx already on Binance-owned CoinMarketCap
At launch, CommEx supports only a browser version, with the firm promising to introduce a mobile app in the near future. Despite being launched just one day ago, CommEx is already listed on CoinMarketCap, a major crypto tracking website which Binance acquired in April 2020. On the other hand, rival market tracker CoinGecko doesn’t include any information about CommEx at the time of writing.
According to CoinMarketCap data, CommEx lists 25 trading pairs at launch, including stablecoins like Tether (USDT) and Binance’s BNB (BNB) cryptocurrency. “CommEx is a rapidly expanding cryptocurrency exchange, backed by top-tier crypto VCs,” the description of the new exchange on CoinMarketCap reads.
CommEx will initially support peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions in Russia, allowing users to exchange their crypto without using the platform’s fiat channels. The platform will launch spot trading of USDT against Russia’s fiat currency, the ruble, once fiat channels are live, according to a spokesperson in CommEx’s Telegram group.
A spokesperson for Binance told Cointelegraph that it will be “entirely optional” for Binance users to move over to CommEx. “You may also withdraw your funds to another platform if you’d like,” the person noted, adding that users would still be able migrate their assets to CommEx. The spokesperson noted:
“Russia KYC’d new users registration will immediately be redirected to CommEX. Then, over the next several months, Binance will sunset all exchange services and business lines in Russia.”
According to the CommEx representative, the platform’s users will be able to trade without completing Know Your Customer (KYC) checks for up to 2 Bitcoin (BTC) withdrawals. The firm will not allow account registration or services for locations including the United States, Belgium, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Singapore as well as sanctioned regions like Iran and Crimea, CommEx’s location restrictions page reads.
The spokesperson also said that it’s unlikely that Binance’s contactless payment tool Binance Pay will continue to work with CommEx.
Users question CommEx ownership
Binance’s announcement has triggered some speculation in the local crypto community regarding the owners of Binance’s successor in Russia. Some users have found similarities in the layouts of Binance and CommEx’s websites, while others said that CommEx was a “full copy” of Binance’s website.
“They just changed the logo and colors but essentially it’s the same website. I wouldn’t be surprised if Russian tops who left banana [Binance] would be managing directors here,” one commenter wrote in a now-deleted comment on CommEx’s Telegram group.
“I don’t think that CZ [Changpeng Zhao] is ready to abandon such a huge pie like Russia and leave just like that,” one local cryptocurrency observer told Cointelegraph. Some people in the community have drawn parallels between CommEx in Russia and Binance’s affiliate in the United States, Binance.US, which has been claiming to operate “independently” from Binance.
“It looks like some sort of Binance.US but just without the word ‘Binance’ in its name,” another local crypto enthusiast told Cointelegraph.
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A spokesperson for Binance declined to comment on whether the company is aware of CommEx’s founders or executives. CommEx’s spokesperson declined to comment immediately, stating that the firm is focused on “platform optimization and stability” as the CommEx website briefly went down amid Russian users rushing to the website after Binance made the announcement. CommEx’s Russian Telegram group, which had just about 50 members before the announcement, now counts nearly 2,000 users.
“With this sale, Binance fully exits Russia. We have no plans to get back,” a spokesperson for Binance told Cointelegraph.
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