With the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine, cryptocurrencies have taken a few roles, being sent as donations to aid the attacked nation but also in speculations that Russian oligarchs used such assets to bypass sanctions. However, community insiders continue to refute these allegations, and the latest to do so was FTX’s founder – Sam Bankman-Fried.
It’s been almost a month since Russia launched its “special military operation” against its Eastern neighbor, which turned out to be an all-out war. While the leaders of the two former Soviet states have met numerous times in attempts to resolve the conflict, actual results are yet to be seen.
Refusing to get directly involved in the situation, countless countries across the world keep imposing new sanctions on Russia’s financial infrastructure, many of its oligarchs, and other people close to President Putin. Amid this, the word cryptocurrency became popular as some watchdogs speculated that Russia’s elite could employ them to bypass sanctions.
Somewhat expectedly, crypto insiders were not happy about this. The CEOs of Coinbase and Ripple recently outlined their reasons why they think oligarchs can’t use digital assets in such a manner. Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO and founder of FTX, joined the pack.
“I’m very frustrated with the messaging that our industry has had on this. I think it has been basically anti-regulatory, is how it’s been perceived, and I think that’s how it sounds, and I think that has caused a pretty big perception issue,” he commented on some exchanges’ decision not to ban Russian-based customers.
FTX and Russia
While Binance, Coinbase, FTX, Kraken, and other popular digital asset trading platforms initially said blocking Russian-based entities will be against crypto’s nature, some had to change their stance shortly after.
This came after the US and other watchdogs introduced bills to prohibit financial entities from operating with Russian banks and customers. As reported recently, Coinbase blocked 25,000 accounts supposedly belonging to sanctions Russians.
On the other hand, Reuters’ report reaffirmed that FTX continues to allow non-sanctioned Russian users to trade, but it’s still in communication with US regulators about its operations.
“I don’t think this is really about the content of the decisions. It’s about the way that they’ve been presented.” – SBF concluded.