Monday Breaking News: Crypto Exchanges Considering Freezing Russian Assets
With Russia scaling up its aggression against Ukraine over the past week, countries around the world are now imposing strict sanctions against Russia’s economy. This includes a sanction from SWIFT, which immobilizes the Russian banking system from sending funds to other financial institutions, and makes their banking customers very difficult to conduct any business, as transactions will not go through.
Now, Ukrainian officials are calling for sanctions on all cryptocurrency transactions, too, since crypto is one of the few ways Russians could conduct any cross-border money transactions at the moment.
Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, went on Twitter on Sunday to ask that crypto exchanges block all Russian addresses to sabotage the economy of Russia.
“I’m asking all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users. It’s crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users.”
However, it is unlikely that exchanges will take to such drastic measures, even during the increasing escalation of the Russia-Ukraine war. This is because Russians hold approximately $200 billion in cryptocurrencies, and that major exchanges, such as Binance, receives massive website traffic from Russia (2nd largest on Binance).
In addition, these type of legal measures directly oppose the initial purpose of a decentralized currency, in that they are supposed to be promoting the financial freedom of individuals and enable seamless global money movement.
On the other hand, to support the civilians displaced or affected by the war in any way in Ukraine, exchanges have started initiatives to help out on the humanitarian crisis. Binance, for example, has established the Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund, and has also donated $10 million to the cause. In addition, Ukraine has raised over $23 million in crypto so far since the war began, and this figure will certainly continue to rise as the war rages on.