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Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by volume, shocked South African users yesterday by announcing that it will remove and cease trading on all ZAR pairs.

In addition to the above tweet, users were sent an email at 08:55 AM (UTC) the following morning informing them of the decision. The only reasoning provided in the email was the standard delisting rationale:

“At Binance, we periodically review each digital asset we list to ensure that it continues to meet the high level of standard we expect. When a coin or token no longer meets this standard or the industry changes, we conduct a more in-depth review and potentially delist it. We believe this best protects all of our users.”

It is doubtful that Binance are referring to the South African Rand as a “low standard asset” unfitting for their exchange, and more likely that a common delisting template was used in the rush to push the announcement out, although this is mere speculation.

Global Crypto has investigated the reasoning of the delisting extensively, and have come up empty handed. Our Executive Editor James Preston had a business meeting with Binance’s Head of Business South Africa on Monday evening 29 March, and nothing was mentioned ahead of the delisting announcement – rousing speculation that the delisting was an abrupt decision.

One Binance Africa Angel, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that he believed it was possible the platform’s low liquidity on the pairs was cause for the decision, with the lack of ZAR deposit functionality exacerbating the problem, but this remains unconfirmed.

All Binance South Africa staff contacted have said they wish not to provide comment to the press.

According to Binance’s statement, the delisting of the ZAR pairs will take place on 2021-04-02 at 10:00 AM (UTC), that is 12:00pm for South Africans, meaning customers only had 50 hours to act. The only pairs that traded against the ZAR on Binance were USDT, BTC, ETH, BUSD and Binance’s native token BNB.

Upon discovering that the news was not an April Fool’s joke, many South African users took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction. One user claiming that by making this decision, Binance is essentially taking a step backwards and hindering adoption on the African continent, contradicting previous statements by Binance CEO CZ that the continent has huge potential.

Data from Chainalysis also indicates that South Africa as a country has considerable potential in the crypto industry. In their “Global Crypto Adoption Index 2020”, Chainalysis listed South Africa among the top 10 countries in the world for crypto adoption.

Global Crypto will provide further updates when additional information becomes available.

Feature image by Andrew Drake from Shutterstock

Andrew is a law student currently studying at UNISA, and Global Crypto's in-house reporter. Andrew discovered blockchain in his final year of school and since developed a keen interest in the subject. He appreciates a good cup of coffee. When he is not too busy with work or studies, he enjoys playing a good round of golf.