Crypto exchanges Binance and Kraken reject Ukraine’s request to block Russian crypto accounts
In the wake of ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, governments around the world have imposed a series of sanctions on Russian banks to put more economic pressure on Moscow to withdraw its troops from Ukraine.
In the latest response to deal a heavy blow on the Russian people, Ukraine’s vice prime minister called on major cryptocurrency exchanges yesterday to block all Russian user accounts.
“It’s crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users,” Mykhailo Fedorov, who is also Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation, said in a tweet on Sunday.
I'm asking all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users.
It's crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users.
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 27, 2022
In response to his request, Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange, said on Monday that it will block the accounts of Russian individuals who have been sanctioned, but will not “unilaterally” freeze the accounts of all Russian users.
“We are not going to unilaterally freeze millions of innocent users’ accounts. 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. However, we are taking the steps necessary to ensure we take action against those that have had sanctions levied against them while minimizing impact to innocent users. Should the international community widen those sanctions further, we will apply those aggressively as well,” Binance said in a statement. The crypto exchange’s stance was first reported by Reuters.
Binance is not alone in rejecting Ukraine’s request. Founder of crypto exchange Kraken Jesse Powell said in a tweet that his company won’t freeze crypto accounts.
1/6 I understand the rationale for this request but, despite my deep respect for the Ukrainian people, @krakenfx cannot freeze the accounts of our Russian clients without a legal requirement to do so.
— Jesse Powell (@jespow) February 28, 2022