On and off again: Binance stops withdrawals and blames backlog

By Eric Johansson

Binance has disabled cryptocurrency withdrawals, blaming the stoppage on a massive backlog. After turning on the tap, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange then closed withdrawals again before turning them on again.

Binance announced that it had cancelled withdrawals on Twitter around 12pm GMT.

“We have temporarily disabled all crypto withdrawals on Binance.com due to a large backlog,” the company said. “Rest assured our team is working on it with top priority. Thank you for your patience and apologies for any inconvenience caused.”

Soon thereafter, Binance tweeted that cryptocurrency “withdrawals have been resumed” only to pull the plug again moments later.

At around 2pm GMT, Binance announced that withdrawals had resumed, again apologising “for any inconvenience caused.”

Binance has suffered some bad press over the past few months.

For instance, the platform halted withdrawals in sterling for UK customers in June following a Financial Conduct Authority warning against using the services of its subsidiary Binance Markets Limited.

The warning meant that the company would not be permitted to undertake any regulated activity in the UK.

Binance has since quietly resumed sterling withdrawals in the UK.

The cryptocurrency exchange has also been accused of having lax customer background checks that allow criminals to use the platform to launder money. Binance has claimed that its know-your-customer (KYC) checks are sufficient to tackle financial crime.

Binance was also one of the cryptocurrency exchanges that had to leave South Korea after the nation introduced stricter rules for the industry in September.

The news comes amidst a worldwide crackdown on bitcoin and other blockchain-based money.

China has banned cryptocurrency transactions and mining, including barring overseas exchanges from providing services to mainland investors via the internet. Several exchanges, including Huobi Global and Binance, have consequently halted the signup of new clients and said they’d start cutting ties with clients over the weekend.

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new chair Gary Gensler has also urged lawmakers to give the market watchdog more power to regulate the industry.

That being said, the States got its first bitcoin exchange-traded fund in October, with cryptocurrency evangelists branding the launch as a major milestone for digital assets.