Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is losing two key executives related to the Russian market amid major regulatory challenges related to sanctions.
Gleb Kostarev, head of Eastern Europe and Russia at Binance, took to Facebook on Sept. 6 to announce his departure from Binance.
In his Russian-language announcement, Kostarev said that today marks the last day of his long-running work at Binance. He added that he’s stepping down as vice president responsible for Eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Turkey, Australia and New Zealand. He also stepped down from serving the role in the Asia-Pacific region “a few months ago,” the exec added.
Kostarev expressed gratitude to Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao and co-founder He Yi for all the opportunities that they provided. “Thanks to all the local initiative teams for their hardcore work and amazing campaigns at the local level,” he noted.
Vladimir Smerkis, general manager for Russia and CIS at Binance, subsequently announced his departure on Facebook as well. “Almost two years have passed in the blink of an eye, and as of tomorrow, I no longer work at Binance,” the exec wrote.
None of the executives mentioned any straightforward reasons for leaving their positions at Binance. In the announcement, Smerkis promised to tell more about the reasons for the departure, as well as the future and experience at an online or even offline meeting in Moscow in a few weeks.
“I’m going on vacation, which I haven’t seen for almost two years. While you wait, I will spam you with photos of the sea, pizza and sunsets. And advice: leave room for all this in your life,” Smerkis stated.
The Russian cryptocurrency community was quick to react to the latest departures from Binance, with many addressing Kostarev and Smerkis in post comments with the burning question of whether Binance is going to leave the market. In late August, Binance announced it might be considering withdrawing its services from Russia amid Western sanctions.
Binance declined to comment on the implications of the recent layoffs in Russia.
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Binance’s Russian execs announced their leave days after Binance ads were featured in a video by famous Russian YouTuber Yuri Dud, posted on Aug. 16. At the time of writing, the video still includes a text promo of Binance services for Russian users, in addition to an in-video ad shot by the YouTuber.
Apart from the latest departures, Binance has been losing more key executives globally as well. On Sept. 4, Binance head of product Mayur Kamat confirmed he was leaving the crypto exchange after nearly two years. Previously, Binance’s chief strategy officer Patrick Hillmann also left the company in July.
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