Ukraine calls for changes to freeze Russian and Belarusian Crypto accounts
Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, has asked “all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users.”
Fedorov tweeted his ask explaining that “it’s crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users.”
Binance, one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume, said it has no plan to unilaterally freeze user accounts in Russia, according to Reuters.
“We are not going to unilaterally freeze millions of innocent users’ accounts. Crypto was meant to provide greater financial freedom for people across the globe,” the representative told Reuters.
Dmarket, a Ukraine born digital assets company that works as an exchange to trade virtual items from any game on any platform, “connecting the entertainment industry with the global metaverse,” has accepted the request.
The company tweeted to say “Ukrainian-born startup DMarket cuts all relationships with Russia and Belarus due to the invasion of Ukraine. – The registration on the platform is prohibited for users from Russia and Belarus; – Accounts of previously registered users from these areas are frozen.”
Vlad Panchenko, the Ukrainian CEO and founder of DMarket had previously convinced his board to fly more than 100 of his employees and their families from Kyiv to Montenegro, three weeks ago when Russia was threatening an invasion.
In response to the move by DMarket, Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted that “funds from these (frozen) accounts could be donated to the war effort. Nowadays Robin Hoods. Bravo.”
However, Jesse Powell, founder of the Crypto Exchange Kraken, retweeted Fedorov’s tweet to announce and explain why they would not be freezing the accounts.
But Powell does hint that this could change in the future by saying that “Russians should be aware that such a requirement could be imminent.“
He further adds that Kraken FX’s mission is “better served by focusing on individual needs above those of any government or political faction” and that “the People’s Money is an exit strategy for humans, a weapon for peace, not for war.”
He adds, that “if we were going to voluntarily freeze financial accounts of residents of countries unjustly attacking and provoking violence around the world, step 1 would be to freeze all US accounts. As a practical matter, that’s not really a viable business option for us.”
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