Because crypto regulation is still in a formative state in Russia, it has become a bit tricky to buy and trade cryptocurrency in the country. Interested buyers must first get accustomed to the legalities surrounding the possession and transfer of digital assets before setting out to explore the crypto world. It’s definitely necessary to analyze the legality of the operations of crypto exchanges in Russia before starting to invest in crypto.
Although some exchanges claim to provide services globally, not all have set up the business framework applicable to crypto companies hoping to render services to Russian residents. With this in mind, it is necessary to review the compatibility and legality of crypto exchanges before using them.
Luckily, there are a handful of exchanges that have done enough to localize their services for the crypto community in Russia. As a result, they have emerged as the obvious choices for crypto proponents and are often regarded as the best exchanges in Russia.
In this guide, we will list these top exchanges, explore their features and highlight their drawbacks — this will make it easier for you to compare their functionalities and choose the one that best suits your needs.
Binance has positioned itself as a juggernaut in the global crypto economy by initiating several localization projects across several regions. It is this business ideology that has spurred the reputation of Binance in Russia. The exchange has developed a local community in the country to reaffirm its commitment towards the Russian market. In addition to this, the Binance website is available in Russian. This helps with navigation and promotes an enabling environment where Russians can communicate with customer representatives in their local dialect.
Binance kicked off its crypto-to-fiat trading service with the Russian ruble in 2019. This was followed by the debut of the instant buy option that allowed Russian residents to buy selected cryptocurrencies directly with a Visa card. Lastly, the exchange added support for the ruble on its peer-to-peer trading network. All these integrations are instrumental in the growing prominence of Binance in the Russian Federation. According to a recent report, an average of 31,000 users used the exchange daily all through February 2021.
Apart from its localization efforts, Binance offers a strong selection of altcoins and affordable trading fees. On the flip side, Binance, being the latest crypto exchange in the world, is a prime target for hackers. Therefore, ensure that you do not use its wallet as a long-term crypto storage solution — cold or offline storage is often the safer choice for your crypto.
Kraken is another exchange that has made a name for itself in Russia’s crypto industry. Like Binance, the U.S.-based exchange has implemented a Russian interface for its website. The management team also debuted a coordinated plan to increase the market visibility of Kraken in Russia by employing new Russian representation, creating Telegram groups for its Russian users and partnering with local organizations.
The exchange went further to ramp up its operations in Russia by marketing its crypto futures services to Russian traders. This is in addition to the wide array of crypto services available on the Kraken ecosystem. It is worth mentioning that the most appealing feature of Kraken remains its security infrastructure. Since it launched in 2011, Kraken has not recorded a security breach. However, compared to the likes of Binance, its selection of coins and trading pairs are somewhat limited.
Like Kraken and Binance, Bittrex has found its footings in the Russian market. Users located in Russia accounted for 6.95% of the desktop traffic recorded by Bittrex in December 2020. This is a clear indication of its growing status in the Russian crypto community.
However, unlike many of the exchanges listed so far, Bittrex has not done much to localize its operations in Russia. Bittrex owes its prominence to the wide variety of altcoins supported by its online wallet and the top quality security infrastructure offered to users. The combination of these factors has helped raise the demand for Bittrex in Russia.
That said, you should note that the exchange does not support fiat deposits and withdrawals unless your account is verified. Therefore, you may need to look for a suitable crypto gateway and subsequently transfer your purchased coins to Bittrex.
OKCoin is a China-based exchange looking to expand into the international scene. The trading platform appeals to Russians because it supports wire transfers. As such, beginners on OKCoin from Russia can start their crypto journey by simply processing fiat deposits via their bank accounts. Another interesting feature of OKCoin is the non-existence of maker fees. In other words, market makers are not paying additional fees when executing trades.
Before using OKCoin, note that the exchange does not support a broad range of altcoins and has been the subject of controversies in the past. Likewise, foreign traders often encounter snags while verifying their identity.
In contrast to the exchanges listed above, Bybit focuses solely on the crypto futures market. It is currently one of the largest crypto futures exchanges in the world. Bybit comes with advanced trading features, as well as 100x leverage for margin traders. There are futures contracts available for EOS and Ripple, which cannot be said of competing crypto futures exchanges.
Bybit also features an option to buy cryptocurrencies instantly. This instant buy option supports the Russian ruble. The only drawback is that the exchange is relatively new. However, this does not seem to hurt the popularity of Bybit in Russia.
Is Coinbase Available in Russia?
Due to a combination of factors, it is not possible to access Coinbase for Russians. This exchange has consistently featured as one of the top trading platforms and crypto gateways in the last couple of years. Therefore, Coinbase’s current policy, as it relates to the Russian market, is an unfortunate situation. However, as seen by the performance of the exchanges listed above, other alternatives are more than capable of filling the void left by Coinbase.
For those that really want to use a limited version of Coinbase, the Coinbase app will allow Russian users to make wallet transfers and make use of the Coinbase Vault offering.
Having reviewed the popular crypto exchanges in Russia, one thing is clear: Russia has proven to be a promising market for foreign crypto exchanges, despite the uncertain state of crypto regulation in the country. That said, the trading platforms listed above have what it takes to emerge as the best crypto exchange in Russia. Other notable mentions are Coinmama, CEX.io, Changelly and Paxful.