Binance blocks Russian accounts holding crypto worth over €10,000
Binance is limiting its services for Russian nationals that have crypto assets exceeding 10,000 euros as crypto exchanges are coming under pressure after the European Union adopted its fifth package of sanctions against Moscow.
The recent sanctions forbid Russian individuals and companies from the use of cryptocurrencies as western politicians fear that the virtual asset class provides a back door to circumvent sanctions.
As a result, the world’s largest crypto exchange will block Russian nationals or residents from making new deposits or trading if they hold over 10,000 euros. Affected clients would be given 90 days to close their positions and withdraw funds.
“Accounts that classify under this restriction will be put into withdrawal-only mode. No deposits or trading will be permitted on these accounts. The limit also covers all spot, futures, custody wallets, and staked and earned deposits. In addition, all deposits to accounts for Russian nationals or natural persons residing in Russia, or legal entities established in Russia with over 10,000 EUR will be restricted,” the exchange further explains.
Nevertheless, accounts for Russian nationals residing outside Russia, as verified with proof of address, that have a total value below the 10,000 EUR threshold, will remain unaffected and active.
The latest move was an unanticipated turn of events after Binance CEO and founder, Changpeng Zhao, said the exchange was “not in a position to sanction, like, populations of people”.
Russia may use crypto to turn around sanctions
“There are a few hundred individuals that are on the international sanctions list in Russia, mostly politicians, and we follow that very, very strictly, We differentiate between the Russian politicians who start wars and the normal people, many normal Russians do not agree with war,” CZ said a month ago.
At the time, the CEO claimed that he did not know how many of the platform’s accounts had been frozen as a result of links with Russia but insisted that Binance knows its customers and would not allow sanctioned individuals to use its services.
Available information shows that many Russian entities and individuals are looking to liquidate their assets to acquire properties in crypto-friendly regions, like the UAE, through crypto. Russia is also reportedly mulling the idea of accepting Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as payment for its oil and gas sold to “friendly countries,” said a high-ranking lawmaker this month.
Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Putin said that cryptocurrencies have a “potential future” as a means of payment. The Russian leader pointed out that crypto money finds more real-world use cases. However, Putin was less sure about the fundamentals that were driving the valuations of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.