Coinbase, Kraken and Binance refuse to freeze Russian crypto accounts

  • Some of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges have refused to deny Russian users access to their cryptos, saying it goes against the ethos of crypto.
  • This came after the Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister requested global exchanges to deny Russians access in order to force the hand of their leader Vladimir Putin.

Cryptocurrency exchanges will not heed the call of Ukraine to deny services to Russian users. Some of the biggest exchanges including Binance and Coinbase have rejected the call to ban Russians from their platforms, saying this goes against the ethos of cryptocurrencies.

The Ukraine-Russia conflict has put cryptocurrencies right at the center. Ukraine has been fundraising in crypto from the global community while it has also been awarding anyone with information on crypto wallet addresses linked to Russian politicians and oligarchs.

In its latest push, the Ukrainian government has been pushing for the global community to blackball Russians. It started with a request to ban addresses linked to politicians and to label them as toxic. But then Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Federov decided to push it a little further.

The outspoken politician took to Twitter to urge exchanges to ban Russian users from their platforms altogether. He claimed that it’s important “to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians but also to sabotage ordinary users.”

Such a move, if undertaken, would deny access to users regardless of whether they are anti-war or pro-Putin. This would be in line with other similar actions such as a decision by the EU, the U.K, and the U.S to kick Russian banks out of the SWIFT funds transfer system, a decision that has had extreme ramifications for Russian citizens, as CNF reported.

Read More: Russians line up at ATMs for U.S dollars as harsh sanctions and SWIFT crackdown bite

Crypto stands for freedom, exchanges say

And while everyone else has stood with Ukraine, exchanges have decided to take a stand against the request of the Vice Prime Minister.

Coinbase is the latest to deny the request. A spokesperson for the California exchange told news outlets that the company stands for economic freedom, which such a ban would severely impact. It, however, acknowledged that it’s complying with all the other existing sanctions.

The spokesperson stated:

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At this time, we will not institute a blanket ban on all Coinbase transactions involving Russian addresses. Instead, we will continue to implement all sanctions that have been imposed, including blocking accounts and transactions that may involve sanctioned individuals or entities.

The world’s largest exchange Binance took a similar stand. Speaking to CNBC, a spokesperson for the exchange confirmed that it would not freeze Russian accounts.

The spokesperson added:

Crypto is meant to provide greater financial freedom for people across the globe. To unilaterally decide to ban people’s access to their crypto would fly in the face of the reason why crypto exists.

Jesse Powell, the founder, and CEO of Kraken confirmed via Twitter that it would also stand with its Russian users.

KuCoin CEO Johnny Lyu also said he stands with Russian users, stating:

As a neutral platform, we will not freeze the accounts of any users from any country without a legal requirement. And at this difficult time, actions that increase the tension to impact the rights of innocent people should not be encouraged.

Also Read: Ukraine plans to expose crypto wallets of Russian and Belarusian politicians as war intensifies

About Author

Steve has been a blockchain writer for four years, and a crypto enthusiast for even longer. He is most excited by the application of blockchain to solve the challenges facing developing nations.

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