- The CEO of Binance believes that placing sanctions on all Russian nationals is unjust because many do not support the war in Ukraine.
- Unsanctioned users are not being barred by Kraken or Coinbase.
- Cryptocurrency has liquidity issues, making it unlikely to be a simple replacement for traditional money.
The CEO of Binance claims that avoiding sanctions is not a “crypto-specific issue,” dismissing calls to bar Russian clients from using the Binance platform. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao stated that the company has complied with international governments’ mandates to impose limits on sanctioned clients. According to CZ, expanding sanctions to include all Russian citizens is “unethical.” Crypto firms are subject to the same regulations as banks.
CZ emphasized that Binance strictly adheres to sanctions requirements. “Whoever is on the sanctions list will be unable to use our platform; those who are not will be able to,” Zhao said on March 2nd. “We did not make the decision to freeze user accounts.” Russian users have not been barred from using Facebook. Google has not barred Russian users from using its services. Google has not barred access to Russia. The United States has not done so.”
Sanctioned Russians Experience Blacklisting
President Joe Biden was reportedly negotiating sanctions with exchanges recently, with Bitcoin and “crypto’s” role as a tool for Russians to dodge sanctions making headlines recently.
In response to the Ukraine Vice Prime Minister’s appeal on Sunday to block Russian crypto exchange accounts, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell stated that, while he respects Ukrainian residents, it is not fair to bar all Russians from utilizing the platform without a legal basis. A representative for Binance further stated that such move would “fly in the face” of everything cryptocurrency stands for, the most crucial of which is censorship resistance.
Coinbase has likewise refused to prohibit Russians who are not sanctioned. “Also, from an ethical standpoint, many Russians do not favor the war, therefore we should separate the politicians from the ordinary people,” CZ said. In contrast, one Ukrainian NFT exchange said that it has severed all links with Russia and its neighbor, Belarus.