Coinbase, one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchange platforms, announced today that it’s blocking access to more than 25,000 blockchain addresses linked to Russian individuals and entities.
The company also shared all the block addresses with the US government to “further support sanctions enforcement.
Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officerlaos, added that the crypto exchange is blocking sanctioned actors from opening new accounts and actively detecting attempts to evade the ban.
The ban addresses sanction lists maintained by countries worldwide, including the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, United Nations, Singapore, Canada, and Japan.
“For example, when the United States sanctioned a Russian national in 2020, it specifically listed three associated blockchain addresses. Through advanced blockchain analysis, we proactively identified over 1,200 additional addresses potentially associated with the sanctioned individual, which we added to our internal blocklist,” Grewal said.
“Today, Coinbase blocks over 25,000 addresses related to Russian individuals or entities we believe to be engaging in illicit activity, many of which we have identified through our own proactive investigations.”
Exchanges’ reply to call for Russian blanket ban
This comes after Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov also asked all major crypto exchanges to block blockchain addresses used by Russians to increase pressure and force them to take action against their government’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
“It’s crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users,” Fedorov said.
I’m asking all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users.
It’s crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users.
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 27, 2022
Coinbase and other crypto exchanges, including Binance, refused to freeze all Russian users’ accounts but said they would comply with US and European Union economic sanctions imposed on Russia after its armed forces invaded Ukraine.
Binance and Coinbase spokespersons added that, while they will not block all Russian accounts on their platforms, the crypto exchanges will take steps to identify all sanctions entities and individuals and block their accounts and transactions.
While Coinbase cited “economic freedom in the world” to explain this decision, Binance said it was about “greater financial freedom for people across the globe” and banning users’ access to their cryptocurrency “would fly in the face of the reason why crypto exists.”
“Sanctions play a vital role in promoting national security and deterring unlawful aggression, and Coinbase fully supports these efforts by government authorities,” Grewal added today.
“They are best placed to decide when, where, and how to apply them.”