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Bitcoin Discount Emerges on Binance Australia Ahead of Payment Cutoff - BLOOMBERG

MAY 30, 2023

(Bloomberg) -- Bitcoin and other digital tokens were trading at a discount on Binance Australia versus rival exchanges in the country with the platform set to be cut off from a key local currency withdrawal route.

Bitcoin traded at A$34,863 ($22,670) on Binance Australia as of 1:10 p.m. Tuesday in Singapore, about A$7,516 lower than the average price on platforms including Independent Reserve and CoinJar, CryptoCompare data showed. Discounts of about 20% were also evident for tokens like Ether and Solana.

Binance Australia said from 5 p.m. on June 1 users won’t be able to withdraw Aussie dollars to their bank accounts using the nation’s popular PayID service. Earlier in May, the platform lost access to some Aussie dollar deposit services. 

“Bitcoin/AUD is trading at a material discount to Bitcoin/USD as Australian clients are willing to sell Bitcoin at a discount so they can withdraw the AUD before the deadline,” said Richard Galvin, co-founder at fund manager Digital Asset Capital Management.

On May 18, Binance Australia said it could no longer offer Aussie dollar deposit services due to a decision by payments solutions provider Cuscal.

Cuscal the same day said its primary focus is on “protecting Australians from financial crimes and scams” and that it wasn’t commenting on other parties. 

Also on May 18, Westpac Banking Corp. — one of Australia’s largest financial institutions — said it had begun trialling new customer protections for some crypto payments to reduce “scam losses.”

Stablecoin Option

A Binance Australia spokesperson said on Tuesday that Australian dollar balances can be converted into the Tether stablecoin to “facilitate withdrawals and trading activities” after June 1.

“We are working hard to find an alternative provider to continue offering AUD deposits and withdrawals to our users,” the spokesperson said.

Binance is the largest exchange in the controversial digital-asset sector. Its global business and a US platform are the subject of a web of probes. In April, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission canceled Binance’s license for its derivatives business in the country as it conducts a review of the group’s local operations.

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission earlier this year sued Binance and its Chief Executive Officer Changpeng “CZ” Zhao for allegedly violating derivatives regulations and accused the firm of having “sham” compliance procedures. Binance has called the lawsuit “unexpected and disappointing.” 

--With assistance from Suvashree Ghosh.


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