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In December, Binance will stop accepting European Visa debit cards.

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In a surprising turn of events, Mastercard decided to sever its partnership with Binance across regions as diverse as Latin America and Bahrain back in September. The likely catalyst behind this move was the ever-shifting regulatory landscape.

Fast forward to October 20, and Binance dropped another bombshell – they would be shutting down their Binance Visa debit card services within the European Economic Area (EEA) come December 20. This sudden announcement sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency community. Interestingly, the closure of Binance exchange accounts remains unaffected, bringing an air of uncertainty to the fate of users’ digital assets.

According to an online message sent out to its customer base, Binance’s card issuer, Finansinės paslaugos “Contis” (also known as Contis Financial Services), will cease issuing the card. It’s worth noting that Contis is a Lithuanian electronic money institution and currency exchange operator. Even more intriguing is the fact that Contis falls under the wing of the German banking-as-a-service platform Solaris Group, a player with a prominent presence across 30 European nations. The intricate web of international entities involved in this development adds a layer of complexity to the narrative.

The Binance Visa debit card, at its core, serves as a bridge between the realm of cryptocurrencies and the tangible world of local currencies. By facilitating the seamless conversion of crypto assets in users’ Binance accounts into these local currencies, it empowers individuals to engage in both in-store and online transactions with unparalleled ease. It’s a concept that emerged in the context of the EEA, comprising not only the 27 member states of the European Union but also Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. The initial introduction of the Binance Visa debit card into the EEA in September 2020 marked a pivotal moment. It’s fascinating to note that, at that time, discussions revolved around extending Binance’s card services into Russia and potentially even the United States. In a statement provided to Cointelegraph, a Binance spokesperson reflected on this development, remarking, “Although Binance users from around the world have enjoyed using [the Binance Visa debit] card to make day-to-day payments with crypto assets, only around 1% of our users are impacted by this change.” This statement not only highlights the global reach of Binance but also underscores the nuanced nature of its user base.

The curtain falls on the Binance Visa service, marking yet another chapter in a series of challenges faced by the cryptocurrency giant. Interestingly, the announcement of the cessation of Binance Visa card services closely followed the reestablishment of euro deposits and withdrawals, which had been inoperative for an entire month due to the withdrawal of support from payments processor Paysafe. The United Kingdom, too, continues to be off-limits for Binance as it grapples with the fallout of losing a third-party service provider, thereby rendering new user onboarding impossible.

Meanwhile, across the pond, Binance.US made headlines by suspending U.S. dollar deposits in June, causing considerable consternation among users. The platform then struck a partnership with MoonPay to enable U.S. residents to acquire Tether (USDT) on the exchange. A recent revelation states that U.S. customers can now initiate withdrawals by converting their fiat holdings into stablecoins, offering a glimmer of hope to those who feared their assets were stuck in limbo.

As we circle back to Mastercard, their decision to terminate their association with Binance extended to multiple South American nations, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Bahrain, all within the same September timeframe. This move raised questions about the role of regulatory scrutiny in precipitating the dissolution of this once-promising partnership. The narrative unfolds, filled with twists and turns, mirroring the ever-evolving landscape of the cryptocurrency industry.

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