Binance Australia customers seen selling bitcoin at a discount

FILE PHOTO: Binance logo is seen in this illustration taken March 31, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

SINGAPORE (Reuters) -Bitcoin prices on the Australian arm of Binance, the world's largest crypto-currency exchange, were at a 20% discount to rival exchanges on Tuesday, in a sign customers were seeking to exit their positions quickly.

The price of the world's biggest cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was around A$34,000 ($23,062) on Binance Australia, compared with around A$43,000 on BTC Markets, an Australia-based cryptocurrency exchange.

Bitcoin was quoted around $27,790 outside Australia on other exchanges such as Bitstamp.

"Due to the recent removal of fiat on-ramp services by our payment processor's banking partner, some Australian users have been withdrawing their AUD holdings from the platform in advance of the off-ramp closure on 1 June," a Binance spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

"As a result, AUD pairs have experienced less liquidity which has impacted their pricing. We will be delisting remaining AUD pairs in line with the closure of fiat off ramp services."

Earlier this month, the Binance unit said some customers in Australia will not be able to deposit or withdraw money after a third-party service provider cut off its service.

The company said in April it would close its Australian derivatives business after relinquishing a financial services licence amid a regulatory probe into its operations.

Binance, which accounts for as much as 70% of world trading in cryptocurrencies, has been battling regulatory suits and probes around the world.

The company initially did business solely in crypto, enabling it to avoid the global banking system.

But as Binance attracted more customers and hired more employees, its need for conventional bank accounts grew. It used Silvergate Bank, the U.S. lender that collapsed in March. The same month, New York's chief financial regulator took over another crypto-friendly bank, Signature Bank, where Binance was also a client.

Binance has had limited success obtaining bank accounts for its small units. Most major banks turned the exchange down due to compliance concerns over crypto companies' source of funds, according to company messages and former executives, Reuters reported.

($1 = 1.4743 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Singapore and Lewis Jackson in Sydney; Editing by Vidya Ranganathan and Jacqueline Wong)

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