Major crypto exchanges such as Coinbase and Binance have refused to comply with Ukraine’s request to freeze all Russian accounts, claiming that doing so would damage people and go against their values. A Binance spokeswoman told CNBC that unilaterally banning people’s access to their crypto would “fly in the face of the reason why crypto exists.”
Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister, Mykhailo Federov, requested that major crypto exchanges block all Russian and Belarus accounts, not only those of sanctioned oligarchs, in a tweet. “It’s critical to sabotage ordinary users as well as the addresses associated with Russian and Belarusian politicians,” he stated.
An action like this would be in line with US and EU sanctions against Russian banks and leaders, which are aimed at crippling the country’s economy. The freezing of cryptocurrency holdings, on the other hand, might have a direct impact on ordinary Russian residents.
The viewPoint of Crypto Exchanges
Coinbase said it has already sanctioned any Russian individuals or businesses as required by law, but that it will not go any further. It told Motherboard that a unilateral and comprehensive ban would punish regular Russian residents who are experiencing unprecedented currency destabilization as a result of their government’s hostility towards a democratic neighbor. Binance also declared that it would not “unilaterally freeze the accounts of millions of innocent consumers.”
On the other hand, Binance announced that it has pledged to provide at least $10 million in humanitarian help to Ukraine and has opened a fundraising campaign with a target of achieving $20 million. In addition, the US government is investigating the corporation for possible money laundering and insider trading.
Other exchanges, like as KuCoin, have stated that they will not go beyond what is necessary by law. Jesse Powell, the CEO of the Kraken exchange, stated that such a move would be against the company’s “libertarian ideals.”
Dmarket, a marketplace located in Ukraine that allows individuals to sell NFTs and virtual in-game stuff, is an exception. In a tweet, the corporation stated that it has terminated “all agreements with Russia and Belarus as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.”