Binance Ends Support for USDC on Tron 1 Month After Circle's Exit

Binance is also facing some global challenges as the Philippines blocks access to the exchange over license issues and CommEx, its Russian successor, shuts down.

Binance recently faced some major developments affecting its operations globally. The exchange announced it would discontinue support for TRC-20 based USD Coin (USDC) tokens, about a month after Circle's decision to end support for the stablecoin on the Tron blockchain. Meanwhile, Binance's presence in the Philippines is under threat as the country's financial regulator plans to block local access to Binance due to its unlicensed operations, posing risks to Filipino investors. Furthermore, Binance's operations in Russia have concluded with the shutdown of CommEx, the exchange that took over Binance's Russian business.

Binance Drops TRC-20 USDC Support

Binance recently announced its decision to discontinue support for deposits and withdrawals of TRC-20 based USD Coin (USDC) tokens. This move comes after the USDC issuer, Circle, revealed its own plan to phase out support for the stablecoin on the Tron blockchain. Circle's announcement on Feb. 20 included the immediate cessation of USDC minting on Tron and outlined a strategy to gradually withdraw support for the blockchain network. The decision by Circle seems to be motivated by its commitment to ensuring USDC's trustworthiness, transparency, and security, although the specific reasons for discontinuing Tron support were not actually shared.

Binance's withdrawal of TRC-20 USDC support is scheduled for Apr. 5, giving crypto investors a 12-day window to manage their TRC-20 USDC assets on the platform. Despite this change, Binance will still support USDC trades post-deadline, and USDC transactions on other blockchains will not be affected at all. So far, it seems like the crypto community has mostly supported Binance's decision.

In the wake of these developments, Tron's founder, Justin Sun, has been exploring new avenues for blockchain integration, specifically targeting a Bitcoin layer-2 solution. This proposed solution plans to introduce a "wrapped" version of Tether (USDT) to the Tron blockchain, facilitating a direct connection with the Bitcoin network. By enabling the movement of stablecoins and other tokens between Tron and Bitcoin, this integration seeks to unlock over $55 billion in value for the Bitcoin network, promising a significant infusion of financial activity and vitality.

Philippines to Block Binance

Unfortunately, things are not going too well for Binance in the Philippines. The Philippines' financial regulator announced plans to block local access to Binance due to the company's unlicensed operations in the country. This decision was made after concerns were raised by the Philippines' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which pointed out that Binance's activities, including offering investment products like leveraged trading services and crypto savings accounts without the necessary licenses, violate the Securities Regulation Code.

To implement this blockade, the SEC enlisted the support of the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC), to restrict access to Binance's website and online trading platform. According to a document released by the SEC on Mar. 25, SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino brought attention to the possible risks posed by continued public access to these platforms, suggesting that it threatens the security of Filipino investors' funds.

Investors have been given a three-month window to withdraw from their positions on Binance. Additionally, the SEC requested tech giants Google and Meta to prevent Binance-related advertisements from being displayed to Filipino users, which limits the exchange's reach in the country even more.

This move against Binance in the Philippines adds to a series of regulatory challenges the exchange has faced globally. In December of 2023, a U.S. court ordered Binance and its former CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, to pay massive fines to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for violations including operating an illegal derivatives exchange and evading federal law. After these legal issues, Zhao stepped down from his position and pleaded guilty to several charges, including one related to Anti-Money Laundering laws.

The End of Binance's Russian Legacy

Things are not looking much better for the exchange in Russia. CommEx, the crypto exchange that took over Binance's operations in Russia, announced its decision to shut down, immediately stopping deposits and registrations. CommEx bought Binance in September of 2023. The announcement was made through an official statement on CommEx's Telegram group on Mar. 25, advising users to withdraw their assets as soon as possible.

The shutdown process includes stopping futures trading by Mar. 28 and phasing out peer-to-peer exchanges starting Apr. 2. The platform also plans to cease all spot trading activities by Apr. 23 and will go offline by May 10. An asset management fee will be charged to any accounts holding assets after this date.

This closure might not come as too much of a surprise to some as Binance hinted at its departure from the Russian market in early September of 2023. Although CommEx claimed to operate independently, it acknowledged that its team included former Binance employees, leading to speculation about the closeness of its operations to Binance's model. The deal was eyed suspiciously by the crypto community, especially because of the similarities between the CommEx and Binance platforms, branding CommEx as a "Russian version" of Binance.US.