Banco de Venezuela, one of the largest financial institutions in the country, was acquired by the sanctioned government in 2009.
The world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, has removed Banco de Venezuela as a payment method on its peer-to-peer (P2P) trading service. This follows similar moves with sanctioned Russian banks last week and is likely part of efforts to fall in line with international financial sanctions.
According to Venezuelan users, Banco de Venezuela has vanished from the P2P payments options this week, following a series of such removals of Russian banks by Binance. The obvious reason behind this step is the Aug. 24 Wall Street Journal report about the exchange’s participation in circumventing international financial sanctions.
Banco de Venezuela is one of the largest financial institutions in the country — according to the available stats from the end of the 2000s, it held third spot with over 11% share of the local market. In 2009, it was sold to the state by a private holding company, Grupo Santander, for about $1 billion. The sanctions in response to the repression of the 2014 and 2017 protests were imposed on Venezuelan government officials and affiliated institutions by the United States Treasury Department in 2018 and 2019.
As local media reports, private Venezuelan banks, such as Banesco, Banplus, BBVA Provincial and others, remain on the list of Binance’s P2P platform.
The recent surge in awareness regarding the inclusion of sanctioned banks on crypto P2P payment options came to light last week when The Wall Street Journal revealed that Tinkoff Bank and Sberbank were featured as transfer methods on Binance. The same day, Tinkoff and Sberbank were no longer visible on the Binance P2P platform, although the options colored “yellow” and “green,” representative of their respective brand colors, remained. On Aug. 25, journalists confirmed that the sanctioned banks had been entirely removed from the list, citing a spokesperson from Binance.
On Aug. 28, two other major crypto exchanges, OKX and Bybit, followed Binance by excluding sanctioned Russian banks from their payment options.