Exmo, a U.K.-based crypto exchange with extensive presence in Eastern Europe, is pulling out of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The trading platform, Exmo.com, says it’s making the move to avoid jeopardizing its expansion in other regions by operating in high-risk markets like these. The business has been sold to a Russian vendor, alongside rights to the Exmo.me domain and branding.
Major Eastern European exchange Exmo announced earlier this week it’s selling its digital asset business in Russia and Belarus. The company explained the “tough decision” with efforts to avoid risking its global expansion plans by working in these countries. Both nations have been targeted by Western sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
“In addition, our Russian UBO, Eduard Bark, is leaving the company, transferring his stake as a part of a response to one of our directors, Serhii Zhdanov,” Exmo pointed out. “Kazakhstan clients were also included as a part of the deal, since a new team is based in Kazakhstan,” the press release further revealed.
The Exmo.com user agreement has been recently changed to indicate that Russian, Belarusian and Kazakhstan residents are no longer being onboarded. The exchange also reminded traders that pairs with the Russian ruble on the Exmo.com platform have been disabled since April 15, 2022.
According to its website, Exmo currently maintains offices in the U.K., Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, U.S., and Cyprus, and employs over 200 people. “As a company we are very confident and positive about the future of our business and consider the new structure of the business commercially viable and sustainable,” a statement noted.
Exmo is transferring the Russian, Belarusian and Kazakhstan crypto exchange business to the owner of a Russia-based software development company, one of the vendors that have been providing engineering services to the exchange in the past three years, the announcement unveiled without identifying the new entity.
According to the crypto news page of the Russian business news portal RBC, the ownership of Exmo’s assets in the three markets has been handed over to a company called “ЭКСМО РБК ТОО” (EXMO RBC LLP) on March 31, this year.
Nothing will change for customers in the three jurisdictions, a representative elaborated, as the new platform has the rights to use the same branding, software and technical developments as well as the official domain Exmo.me. The transformation will allow the exchange to work more effectively with payment systems, banks and to actively participate in the regulation of cryptocurrencies in the region.
Exmo.me does not plan to restrict Russians’ access to cryptocurrencies, a company official was quoted as stating in another RBC report published Thursday. The spokesperson also assured that the exchange will seek to expand its operations in Russia while emphasizing:
We see great potential in the region of the Russian Federation and will continue to actively develop the Russian part of the business and follow the long-term plans of the previous team.
Crypto businesses working in the Russian market are facing mounting restrictions as Western governments continue to expand sanctions over the ongoing war in Ukraine, some of which are aimed at closing the loopholes in the crypto space. Following the news of the Exmo split, its main competitor in Russia, Binance, announced it’s limiting services for Russian users to comply with the latest EU sanctions.
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