The popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced today that it’s blocking access to more than 25,000 blockchain addresses linked to Russian people and entities.
Coinbase chief legal officer Paul Grewal explained that its company is complying with sanctions imposed by governments around the world on individuals and territories in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The exchange is also using “sophisticated blockchain analytics” to identify accounts held by sanctioned individuals outside of Coinbase.
The company is committed to blocking access to sanctioned actors, detecting attempts at evasion, and identifying high-risk behavior. Sanctioned individuals and entities will be not able to open new accounts.
Coinbase also shared all the blocked addresses with the US government.
“Today, Coinbase blocks over 25,000 addresses related to Russian individuals or entities we believe to be engaging in illicit activity, many of which we have identified through our own proactive investigations.” reads the announcement published by the exchange.. “Once we identified these addresses, we shared them with the government to further support sanctions enforcement.”
Grewal explained that Coinbase checks account applications against lists of sanctioned individuals or entities, including those maintained by other countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, United Nations, Singapore, Canada, and Japan.
“Sanctions play a vital role in promoting national security and deterring unlawful aggression, and Coinbase fully supports these efforts by government authorities,” Grewal added. “They are best placed to decide when, where, and how to apply them.”
Other crypto companies refused to block crypto addresses linked to Russian entities, Binance founder explained that cryptocurrencies won’t help Russia evade sanctions.
“Currently, the media and politicians are spending a lot of effort and focus on crypto and sanctions,” Binance founder Changpeng Zhao said. “The truth is, crypto is too small for Russia. If we look at the crypto adoption today, there is probably about 3% of the global population with some kind of crypto exposure (ie, owning some crypto). Of those, most only have a small percentage of their net worth in crypto. Less than 10% on average. So, there is probably only less than 0.3% of the global net worth in crypto today. This percentage applies equally to Russia.”
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(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Coinbase)