Crypto exchanges in South Korea joining western sanctions by restricting Russian users
Crypto exchanges Gopax, Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit have already placed restrictions on Russian IP addresses.
Fri, 11 Mar 2022, 07:16 am UTC
As the invasion of Ukraine continues, some members of the international community are pressuring Russia to give up its military campaign by imposing various sanctions, which now include crypto assets. South Korean crypto exchanges are joining the effort by recently introducing restrictions for their Russian users.
Major South Korean crypto exchanges have introduced restrictions for Russian users on their platforms. Gopax, Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit have already targeted Russian IP addresses, according to Yahoo! Finance.
“We’ve blocked subscriptions by users in countries which are at high risks of money laundering, in line with the guidelines of the Financial Action Task Force,” Upbit said, according to Bitcoin.com. The leading crypto exchange in South Korea also announced that it could reject withdrawal requests related to Russia.
Aside from placing restrictions on Russian addresses, several exchanges have already taken additional steps targeting Russian users. These include barring subscriptions from customers located in high-risk money laundering countries and disabling the cashing out of crypto holdings option for Russian accounts.
The exchanges’ decision to place restrictions on Russian accounts is in response to the Ukrainian government’s request that digital asset platforms ban Russian crypto accounts. Some have raised concerns that Russia might use crypto in an attempt to evade sanctions.
“I'm asking all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users,” Mykhailo Fedorov, vice prime minister and minister of digital transformation of Ukraine, tweeted on February 27. “It's crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians but also to sabotage ordinary users.”
Recently, the European Union clarified that crypto assets are included in the sanctions against Russia. “The EU confirmed the common understanding that loans and credit can be provided by any means, including crypto assets, as well as further clarified the notion of ‘transferable securities’, so as to clearly include crypto-assets, and thus ensure the proper implementation of the restrictions in place,” the European Commission said.
While major South Korean crypto exchanges have decided to block Russian users, most worldwide exchanges declined Ukraine’s request citing ether concerns about decentralization. “We are not going to unilaterally freeze millions of innocent users’ accounts,” a Binance spokesperson said.
“Crypto is meant to provide greater financial freedom for people across the globe,” the crypto exchange’s spokesperson explained. “To unilaterally decide to ban people’s access to their crypto would fly in the face of the reason why crypto exists.
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