Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, said it “temporarily paused” USDC stablecoin withdrawals while it carried out a “token swap,” according to a tweet by the company on Tuesday.

See related article: U.S. Justice Department mulls charging Binance over potential money laundering violations: report

Fast facts

  • Binance Chief Executive Officer Changpeng Zhao said he expected withdrawals to resume when banks in New York open, which would allow the exchange to swap BUSD for fiat currency, then to USDC.
  • In September, Binance conducted a “BUSD auto-conversion” which swapped out users’ USDC, USDP and TUSD stablecoins to BUSD, a fiat-backed stablecoin founded by Binance and Paxos, the New York-based issuer of the stablecoin.
  • Zhao said users could still withdraw other stablecoins, including BUSD and USDT, and deposits are unaffected.
  • A Tuesday tweet from crypto analytics firm Nansen claimed that over US$2 billion worth of cryptocurrencies left Binance in one day, the highest 24-hour outflow since June.
  • Binance’s USDC withdrawal freeze comes amid growing investor concerns about centralized crypto exchanges following the collapse of FTX.
  • Meanwhile, Binance is reportedly facing a possible criminal investigation from the U.S. government, which the exchange has denied.
  • Binance’s native cryptocurrency, BNB, was trading down 3.7% on Tuesday evening in Hong Kong, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

See related article: Changpeng Zhao says Binance has ‘no negative balances involved’ in proof of reserves