London-based cryptocurrency exchange Exmo is the latest crypto trading platform to formally suspend its business in Russia and Belarus due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Exmo is selling its digital asset business in Russia and Belarus to a Russia-based software development company, which Exmo officially announced on Monday. At the time of writing, the new owner and the size of the deal are not disclosed.
“Unfortunately, we can’t anymore hold the high-risk part of the business, since a global group does not want to put the global expansion plans at any risk by keeping such high-risk markets in its structure,” Exmo CEO Serhii Zhdanov told Cointelegraph.
The deal includes Exmo’s client accounts in Russia and Belarus as well as local fiat onramp systems, Zhdanov said. The technical code of the platform is not sold and is owned entirely by the Exmo group.
Apart from Russia and Belarus, the deal includes Exmo’s business in Kazakhstan because the new owner’s team is based in Kazakhstan. The undisclosed buyer owns both a Russian software development company and a Kazakhstan-based legal entity for a cryptocurrency exchange, the CEO noted.
“We’ve put a lot of effort into the Russian part of the business, so we've made sure that now it's in good hands. The new owner not only follows the roadmap that we've created earlier but will get to the new heights much easier. We’ve made this decision for the benefit of both sides,” Zhdanov said. In mid-March, the firm said that it wouldn’t freeze accounts of regular Russian people due to Western sanctions.
As part of Exmo’s exit from Russia and Belarus, Exmo has amended its user agreement to state that Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh residents are no longer being onboarded on its platform. The exchange disabled Russian ruble trading pairs on Friday.
Additionally, Exmo is rebranding its platform to Exmo.com, while the separate Kazakhstan-based entity will be called Exmo.me, a spokesperson for the firm told Cointelegraph.
Exmo wa founded by Russian entrepreneur Eduard Bark and Russian-born blockchain enthusiast Ivan Petuhovskii back in 2013. Bark, who served as Exmo’s ultimate beneficial owner, is leaving the company as part of the company's shutdown in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The firm’s exit from Russia will have a significant impact to the exchange as Russia was one of its main markets, Zhdanov admitted, stating:
“A significant part of our business was located in Russia. We will experience a near 30% revenue decrease. However, in the long run we are sure that it will speed up our exponential growth and let the company become a unicorn in the next three years.”
“We would consider returning when Russia is no longer classified as a high risk country,” Zhdanov stated.
The news comes shortly after Belarus-linked crypto exchange Currency.com announced the termination of operations in Russia last week.
Some major crypto exchanges like Binance are still operating in Russia, choosing to comply with sanctions against certain sanctioned individuals rather than entire nations.