Hillary Clinton, a former US presidential candidate, said last week that she was “disappointed” that many cryptocurrency exchanges have not banned Russian users from their platforms. “I was disappointed to see that some of the so-called cryptocurrency exchanges (not all, but some) are refusing to finalize transactions with Russia,” Clinton said in a recent interview with The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. She added that “everyone should do their best to isolate Russian economic activity at this time.”
Crypto exchanges, sanctions and Russia
Several crypto exchanges, including Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken, have declined the option to ban all Russian users, stating that there is no legal basis for doing so. However, most assured that they will comply with sanctions if they are expanded to include individual citizens. In contrast, Whitebit (one of the crypto exchanges Ukraine asked to restrict Russian users) claimed to have put in place procedures to check sanctions lists. “Procedures for checking sanctions lists have been implemented, trading activities with RUB have been terminated, and the registration of users from countries of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus has been suspended,” Whitebit confirmed to Decrypt via email. “I believe there is a reputation issue here. Do you want to be known now or after being the broker who facilitated sanctions evasion, even if that is not technically illegal?” asked Tom Keatinge, founding director of the Center for the Study of Financial Crimes and Security and the Royal Institute of the United States. , to Decrypt. “I wonder if brokers will follow the same path as Eurovision or FIFA. I believe they can make their decision, but when they lose access to western banking because they facilitated sanctions evasion, they may regret it,” he added.
Clinton’s Calls to Crack Down on Crypto
During his interview, Clinton also took the opportunity to urge Western agents to take more action to clamp down on how Russia might use cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions. “I believe the Treasury Department [e] Europeans should take a good look at how they can prevent crypto markets from providing an escape route to Russia for both government and private transactions in and out of Russia,” he said. This isn’t the first time Clinton has raised suspicions about the big crypto industry. In November, Clinton had said that cryptocurrencies have the potential to harm the US dollar. “What appears to be a very interesting and exotic initiative has the potential to damage currencies, undermine the role of dollars as reserve currencies and destabilize nations,” he said. That same month, Clinton called on the Biden administration to regulate cryptocurrencies in the face of manipulation of the technology by states and non-state actors. “We are looking not just at states, like China or Russia, that are manipulating technology of all kinds to their advantage. We are looking at non-state actors, whether in conjunction with states or alone, that are destabilizing countries, destabilizing the dollar as the reserve currency,” he added. *Translated and edited by Daniela Pereira do Nascimento with permission from Decrypt.co.