Kraken Is Being Looked Into For Allegedly Breaking Sanctions

The U.S. Treasury Department is apparently looking into the cryptocurrency exchange Kraken because it believes Iranian consumers were permitted to use the site’s services in defiance of federal restrictions.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that the Treasury Department was likely to impose a fine against the exchange, though it did not suggest a timeline for the enforcement action.

recent Reuters investigation found that crypto exchange Binance continued to allow Iranian users to place trades despite the sanctions and a company ban on doing business there.

The U.S. government has historically used federal sanctions as a weapon to prevent certain people or countries from using the international financial system. Iranian cryptocurrency users and addresses have already faced sanctions.

Iranian users have been systematically barred on several cryptocurrency platforms. Iranian users were blacklisted by the NFT trading platform OpenSea earlier this year, while Iranian students were barred from an Ethereum incubator’s development boot camp in 2021 by ConsenSys.

Treasury also has a history of fining cryptocurrency businesses. Both the cryptocurrency exchange BitGo and the payment processor BitPay have been hit with hefty Treasury fines for purported sanctions violations.

CEO Kraken has made no secret of his desire to oppose laws that he believes are unjust

In February, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Powell pushed back against calls to freeze the accounts of Kraken’s Russian userstweeting:

“Our mission at [Kraken] is to bridge individual humans out of the legacy financial system and to bring them into the world of crypto, where arbitrary lines on maps no longer matter, where they don’t have to worry about being caught in broad, indiscriminate wealth confiscation.”

Kraken was identified as a business that believes the “weaponization of the financial system is unethical” in a corporate culture memo that was published in June. The company also pledged to “engage in disputes with government authorities where outmoded rules are unduly restrictive.”

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