U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is working on a bill that would ensure that the use of cryptocurrencies would not undermine U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia for its military strikes against neighboring Ukraine. These sanctions against Russian individuals or entities include blocking assets as well as restricting the access of Russian entities to the US financial system. Since cryptocurrencies are not under the direct control of any government, U.S. authorities are concerned that they may be used by approved Russians to avoid imposing fines.
The bill, drafted by Warren, is expected to ask crypto exchanges operating within the United States to identify suspicious transactions involving Russian wallet addresses.
He claimed that the bill would ensure that “Putin and his friends do not use crypto to undermine our economic sanctions,” read one of his recent tweets.
Last week, Warren wrote a letter to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asking for details on how the financial institution plans to implement US sanctions against Russia through crypto players.
“Strong enforcement of prohibition compliance in the cryptocurrency industry is crucial that digital assets, which allow entities to bypass traditional financial systems, could increasingly be used as a tool to evade sanctions,” the letter said.
In general, the crypto community prides itself on its pro-anonymity nature when it is not controlled by any regulatory authority.
At the moment, US-based crypto exchanges such as Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken are not ready to block all Russian accounts, although they are cooperating with the United States to ban banned entities.
Coinbase, for example, recently claimed that it had suspended services to more than 25,000 addresses associated with Russian individuals or entities that were believed to be involved in illegal activities, including authorization evasion. The platform claims that if unilateral sanctions are imposed on Russian accounts, innocent Russian investors will suffer the consequences in this difficult time.
So far, details of Warren’s bill are awaited.
Last week, Hillary Clinton, the former U.S. First Lady and presidential candidate, said that if crypto exchanges blocked Russian users, Russia’s economy would collapse, which could be the last word in an attack on Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a “military operation” on February 24 to withdraw troops from Ukrainian territory.
As Russian weapons continue to injure Ukrainian residents and destroy infrastructure, Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mikhail Fedorov has called on all major crypto exchanges to block Russian users for the time being.
I ask all major crypto exchanges to block the addresses of Russian users.
It is important not only to freeze the addresses associated with Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to subvert ordinary users.
– Mikhailo Fedorov (Fedorov Mikhailo) February 27, 2022
Ukraine itself, on the other hand, is raising crypto grants to help its war-torn economy.
According to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, Ukraine has so far amassed over $ 60 million (about Rs 460 crore) in crypto assets.