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Ukraine requested major bitcoin exchanges to block Russian users

On February 27, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, sent a tweet requesting that “all major crypto exchanges block addresses of Russian customers.” He stated that it is critical to sabotage common users as well as addresses associated to Russian and Belarusian politicians. Economic sanctions, as well as the anticipated suspension of several Russian banks from the worldwide SWIFT financial system, have sparked fears of a cash rush in Russia. However, cryptocurrency providers have so far refused to comply with Ukraine’s request to prohibit all Russian users.

Binance is “stopping accounts of persons on the sanctions list (if they have Binance accounts) and ensuring that all sanctions are met in full,” according to a Reuters representative. The prohibition would not be extended to ordinary Russian account holders, according to Binance. “A unilateral and total ban would punish regular Russian residents who are facing unprecedented currency volatility as a result of their government’s hostility towards a democratic neighbour,” Coinbase told Decrypt. Any future punishments, however, will be followed by the organisation.

Jesse Powell, the co-founder and CEO of the Kraken bitcoin trading platform, went on to say that the company “cannot freeze the accounts of our Russian clients without a legal necessity to do so” in a Twitter thread. “Russians should be aware that such a need could be near,” he said. Foreign powers, such as the United States, might use such sanctions, according to Powell, “as a weapon to turn the Russian public against their government’s policies.”

DMarket, a Ukrainian NFT and metaverse platform, has adopted a different approach. According to the firm, it has “severed all ties with Russia and Belarus,” is no longer accepting new sign-ups from these countries, and has frozen the assets of “already registered users” in these nations.

Assets and skins have not been confiscated and remain in user accounts, but “access to their use is now limited,” according to DMarket. The site has also been stripped of the Russian Ruble. Fedorov praised the decision, referring to the group as “Today’s Robin Hoods.”

Cryptocurrency behemoths may not be considering bans, but they are supporting other initiatives. Binance announced a $10 million gift to humanitarian operations in Ukraine, while Crypto.com donated $1 million to the Red Cross. Crypto.com stated, “We urge our community to contribute what they can to support humanitarian operations.”

Fedorov also provided a list of cryptocurrency wallet addresses for donations to Ukraine in related news. According to Elliptic, a blockchain analysis company, $24.6 million has been raised through over 26,000 cryptoasset donations as of this writing. The “bulk” of donations, according to the group, have been made in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), although NFTs are also being given to Ukraine.

It’s worth noting that scam artists are attempting to profit from the situation. “Elliptic has discovered a number of fraudulent crypto fundraising scams that are taking advantage of the current scenario,” according to the business.