April 26, 2022 · less than 3 min read
Under pressure to comply with sanctions, Binance has halted Russian accounts.
No way out
One of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world has announced that it will be freezing the accounts of Russian users with more than €10,000 in assets. In order to comply with new sanctions levied at the country, Russian users are now only capable of withdrawing their purchases, so any oligarch looking to buy the dip has had a very, very bad day.
Unfortunately for Binance though, that’s not the only Russian-related story. It turns out the crypto exchange has been subtly collaborating with Russian authorities to trace potential political dissidents, with Binance handing over data of any Russian user that had donated crypto to Alexei Navalny, a longstanding (and currently jailed) Putin opponent. Binance and Russia are like two peas in a pod.
An unexpected crackdown
It’s been rumored that oligarchs have been dashing their rubles into cryptos to get around global financial sanctions. And although this wasn’t immediately successful, with the war triggering a crypto crash, the fear is that many have been evading the sanctions with relative ease.
And with new rules slapped on the Russian regime by the European Union, Binance has had to move quickly to make sure it’s still on the right side of the rules. Could the exchange have gone further? Sure – only 50,000 accounts have more than €10,000 in them, so it’s unlikely to force Putin to the table on that basis.
The real takeaway here though is what it means for crypto users more broadly. If Binance can be put under pressure to stop users trading crypto, maybe it’s time to look at storing your crypto in a software or hardware wallet – just for safe keeping.
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