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Ukraine Minister requested major crypto exchanges to block Russian users

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Indrani bose Follow

INDIA

Mar, 01 2022

Mar, 01 2022

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Ukraine's country's vice prime minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, publicly requested all big crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users. Major cryptocurrency exchanges including Coinbase had rejected to meet the Ukrainian government's appeal.


Eight cryptocurrency exchanges received official letters from Ukraine's Ministry of Digital Transformation requesting that they cease doing business with Russian users and halt support for the Russian ruble, ruble spot pairs, and fiat gateways, including Russian payment systems. The ministry had also asked the exchanges to block all Russian customers as they were concerned that digital currency was being used as a way to evade sanctions. Coinbase, Binance, Huobi, KuCoin, By bit, Gate.io, Whitebait, and Ukrainian exchange Kuna were included in the exchange list where the ministry was attempting to reach out.


As Russian aggression toward Ukraine continues, the U.S. Treasury Department on Monday added regulations to prevent Russians from evading sanctions. In accordance with the new regulations, any deceptive or structured transaction or deal undertaken in an effort to circumvent U.S. sanctions will be prohibited, including through the use of digital currencies or assets or through the use of physical assets.


What do cryptocurrency exchanges have to say about Ukraine's request?


Ukraine’s request was rejected by Coinbase Global Inc. and Kraken which is the second and fourth-largest cryptocurrency exchange and the first and second-largest based in the United States.


In a statement, Coinbase said they will block those accounts or transactions that may involve sanctioned individuals or entities. A spokesperson for Coinbase told “a unilateral and total ban would punish ordinary Russian citizens who are enduring historic currency destabilization as a result of their government’s aggression against a democratic neighbor.” Kraken Chief Executive Officer CEO Jesse Powell replied to Fedorov directly on Twitter explaining why his exchange would not freeze the accounts of its Russian clients unless legally required to do so.


The world’s third-largest exchange FTX Digital Markets Inc had not commented on the Ukrainian request but had supported the country. On 25th February, CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said that the company had donated $25 to each of its Ukrainian users.


As per the report, Global crypto exchange Binance confirmed that they had no plans to unilaterally ban Russian users from the platform. According to Binance, if sanctions were widened, they would apply them aggressively. "However, we are taking the steps necessary to ensure we take action against those that have had sanctions levied against them while minimizing impact to innocent users. Should the international community widen those sanctions further, we will apply those aggressively as well,” a Binance spokesperson told. The company further declared through its Binance Charity Foundation it was donating a minimum of $10 million to help crisis arise in Ukraine. UNICEF, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, iSans, and People in Need will share the money.

 


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Indrani bose

CBW - External Analyst

INDIA

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