Come December 20th, the crypto landscape in the European Economic Area (EEA) will shift noticeably. Binance, a powerhouse in the cryptocurrency world, will cease its Visa debit card services within this region.
As of today’s announcement, it seems like another storm cloud is gathering on the horizon for Binance, despite the company’s significant influence in the crypto arena.
Binance Visa Cards: A Brief Run in Europe
Introduced just over a year ago in September 2020, Binance’s Visa debit card seemed like a promising bridge between crypto and traditional finance.
The card transformed cryptocurrencies in users’ Binance wallets into local fiat, enabling digital currency enthusiasts to pay for everyday items, both in physical stores and online.
With the card’s operations spanning across the 27 European Union member countries and its neighbors—Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway—it looked like Binance was further strengthening its foothold in the European market.
However, things took an unexpected turn when Binance’s card issuer, Lithuania-based Finansinės paslaugos “Contis,” a part of the German banking platform, Solaris Group, decided to pull the plug on issuing this card.
While it’s noteworthy that Solaris Group has a presence across 30 European nations, their withdrawal from this partnership has raised several eyebrows in the financial world.
A Chain of Setbacks: Binance’s Rocky Road
To say Binance has had a challenging year might be an understatement. The cessation of their Visa services in Europe is the most recent in a series of unfortunate events.
Just a day prior to this announcement, Binance had managed to reinstate its euro deposit and withdrawal mechanisms. This feature had been dormant for a month, thanks to the payments processor, Paysafe, deciding to part ways with the exchange.
Binance’s woes don’t end there. Potential customers in the United Kingdom are still in a lurch as the company struggles with onboarding due to the departure of another third-party service associate.
Binance’s attempts to foray into international waters have also met with turbulent tides. In the wake of their European Visa card launch, there were buzzing rumors about Binance cards possibly making their debut in Russia and even the United States.
But those expectations were met with a sobering reality check. A representative from Binance stated that only a marginal 1% of their global user base would feel the pinch from this recent European service shutdown.
However, one can’t help but wonder if this is just the tip of the iceberg. Binance’s American counterpart, Binance.US, hit a rough patch in June, stalling U.S. dollar deposits.
This was shortly followed by an advisory on potential withdrawal suspensions. To offer a glimmer of hope to its U.S. clientele, Binance.US teamed up with MoonPay, making it possible for users to purchase Tether on its platform.
Adding to this, a recent update confirmed that U.S. users can now withdraw dollars, provided they convert this fiat into a stablecoin. Yet, what’s impossible to ignore is Mastercard severing ties with Binance in several countries.
September witnessed this partnership’s demise in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Bahrain. The grapevine has it that heightened regulatory scrutiny was the invisible hand behind this split.
Binance’s journey, filled with potential and promise, has been met with unexpected detours. With each passing challenge, the crypto community observes and questions what lies ahead for this industry giant.
As the sun sets on Binance’s Visa card services in Europe, one can only wait and watch for their next move. The crypto world is anything but predictable, and in this high-stakes game, resilience is the name of the game.