Coinbase – one of the largest and most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world – announced earlier in the week that it is taking heavy action against Russian accounts on its platform. The company has worked to block as many as 25,000 separate crypto accounts allegedly stemming from Russia and that are believed to be involved in illicit activity.
Coinbase Works Against Russian Accounts
In addition, Coinbase says that it is revamping its efforts to push against Russian finances at the request of government officials who are seeking to punish the country for invading Ukraine. In a statement, the digital platform mentioned:
Today, Coinbase blocked over 25,000 addresses related to Russian individuals or entities we believe to be engaging in illicit activity, many of which we’ve identified through our own proactive investigations.
The world watched in horror a few weeks ago as Russia invaded its neighbor Ukraine. Thus far, the battle has waged on as Vladimir Putin – the president of Russia – allegedly seeks to gain control of the country and build back the former Soviet Union. While the United States and many of its allies have sought to instill sanctions on Russia as a means of deterring further attacks, the country appears to have continued its onslaught, resulting in the deaths of several Ukrainian civilians.
In addition, many have claimed that Russia will try to use crypto as a means of avoiding the sanctions it’s facing from so many countries. Politicians like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts are now turning to crypto exchanges and asking that they cut off Russian customers and addresses, and it seems Coinbase is listening, though a spokesperson has assured followers that the move is not so much a direct move against Russia for its invasion, but rather part of a larger effort to fight fraud on the platform.
The spokesperson announced:
This figure pertains to all illicit activity we’ve proactively detected in Russia in recent years. It’s not specific to the period since the invasion of Ukraine. We have not seen a surge in activity in the post-invasion context.
Coinbase has further stated that it will fully comply with all sanctions set forth by the U.S. government on Russia. On its website, the exchange says:
Sanctions play a vital role in promoting national security and deterring unlawful aggression, and Coinbase fully supports these efforts by government authorities.
How Will Everyday Russian Citizens Survive?
The company’s chief legal officer Paul Grewal also threw his two cents into the mix, saying:
We welcome public scrutiny of the crypto industry and will continue working to enhance our overall compliance program and industry compliance standards.
Last week, Brian Armstrong – the CEO of Coinbase – explained that crypto had become a staple financial product for many everyday Russians who were trying hard to keep their wealth stable given the recent collapse of the ruble.