Binance, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange platforms, will not block Russian users’ accounts. The company’s CEO says doing so would be unethical.
Sanctions on Russia
The initiation of war with Ukraine proved to be a disastrous move for Russia from an economic point of view. Major Russian banks were cut off from the SWIFT system, the value of the ruble fell dramatically, import and export of many goods was banned.
The Russian economy received a heavy blow from the United States and Western European countries, which imposed a powerful package of sanctions on Putin’s state.
A few days ago, the Ukrainian president appealed to the owners of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges to block the accounts of Russian users.
The CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, did not agree to this request, arguing his refusal with the “unethicality” of the proposed solution.
Binance complies with sanctions imposed on Russia
In his speech, Zhao emphasized that Binance complies with the sanctions imposed on Russia. The financial activities of specific sanctioned individuals have been restricted, but extending these restrictions to all Russians would be unethical, he says. Binance will, therefore, not freeze the accounts of all Russian investors.
According to Zhao, this is not within the control of the site’s administrators. He also added that a large part of the Russian public does not support the war in Ukraine, and a possible account freeze would drive people to use less secure cryptocurrency exchange platforms.
In response to a question, Zhao ruled out the possibility of anonymous cryptocurrency trading by Russian oligarchs. Binance requires its users to verify their identities.
The exchange’s CEO could not answer how many accounts have been frozen so far. He explained his ignorance by saying that the responsibility for enforcing regulations lies with the compliance team.
Refusals from other exchanges
Other cryptocurrency exchanges have also refused to freeze the accounts of Russian users. The CEO of the Kraken platform stated that, at the moment, it has no authority to take such action. Blocking accounts would be possible only if required by law.
Representatives of the Coinbase exchange took a similar position. The most famous cryptocurrency exchange in the US does not plan to freeze the assets of all Russian users.
Exchanges such as Huobi, KuCoin, Bybit, Gate.io, Whitebit or Kuna, which Ukraine has also approached, have not yet issued a statement on this matter.