Crypto exchange Binance blocks Russian users targeted by sanctions

Binance, a crypto exchange, told Reuters Monday that it is blocking any Russian clients who are being sanctioned, but won’t freeze accounts of other customers after Ukraine demanded a block on Russian users on major digital currency platforms.

“We are blocking the accounts of people on the sanctions list (if Binance accounts), and ensuring that all sanctions have been fully met,” a spokesperson for the company stated Monday. She declined to provide further details.

After Russia’s invasion, the United States, Britain and Canada announced that they would be imposing new sanctions against Russia.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister, stated that he had asked major crypto exchanges for blocking Russian users’ digital wallet addresses. These addresses allow them to make transactions in crypto coins.

Fedorov, also minister of digital transformation offered a generous reward for information about digital wallets owned by Russian or Belarusian politicians on Saturday

He wrote that it was crucial to not only freeze addresses associated to Russian and Belarusian politicians but also to sabotage ordinary user accounts.

A Binance representative stated that they would not unilaterally freeze the accounts of millions of innocent users. Crypto was created to give people around the world greater financial freedom.

Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, announced last month that it would expand its operations in Russia and other countries. Binance has over 113,000 Russian-language Telegram members, making Russia a significant market.

Binance allows users to withdraw and deposit Russian roubles through the payments company Advcash.

Advcash, a company based in Belize, informed Reuters that users will be able continue to make instant withdrawals and deposits on Binance using its digital wallets.

It added that “some users might experience limitations due to sanctions imposed upon specific banks” on its platform.

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