Amidst sanctions imposed by the US, UK, and the EU, banning crypto operations and wallets for Russian civilians raises questions of ethical implications.
Crypto Exchanges Freeze Russian Accounts
Russian civilians are bearing the brunt of things as multiple crypto exchanges cut ties with Russian accounts. One of the latest crypto exchanges to put a halt to crypto operations and services in Russia is Gopax. This South Korea-based crypto exchange announced on Wednesday that it had frozen 20 accounts from the country and blocked all Russian IP addresses from its platform, following the sanctions imposed by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control and the European Union.
The Biden administration has explicitly asked all crypto exchanges to cease or halt all crypto activity with Russian accounts so as to prevent the country from avoiding the economic sanctions imposed on them. Russian President Putin has recently shown a very pro-crypto stance, an indication that his government has been preparing for war by depending on cryptocurrencies to avoid global sanctions.
Blanket Ban Is Unethical: Binance CEO
However, several experts and industry leaders have questioned the ethical implications of cutting off all financial resources from civilians in Russia. In an interview with Bloomberg, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has stated that asserting a complete crypto ban on Russian users would be “unethical.”
“I just think it’s just not our decision to make to freeze user accounts…not for us to unilaterally freeze some Russian citizens’ bank accounts.”
Zhao has revealed that the exchange is already complying with the sanctions that limit the financial activity of Russian individuals. However, he has also pointed out that most Russian users do not support their country’s political activities, especially the invasion of Ukraine. Furthermore, he added that a complete crypto ban would affect vulnerable groups of people who have no say in the country’s international affairs by pushing them towards more underground and unscrupulous crypto exchanges.
US & EU Sanctions Hurting Regular Citizens
On the other hand, the EU is also gearing up to remove seven Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) messaging system. This would sever Russia’s connection from the 11,000 other financial institutions currently on the SWIFT messaging system and serve a tremendous blow to the country’s economy. These sanctions will affect the country’s citizens much more than the country’s leaders. Putin’s amassed wealth, which is estimated to be in the range of billions of dollars, will allow him a lavish lifestyle. However, the Russian ruble has lost nearly 30% of its value since the attack on Ukraine and has severely drained the savings of ordinary Russians.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.