Cryptocurrency security company Elliptic has identified hundreds of thousands of crypto wallets and addresses linked to Russians on the sanctioned list. It is also investigating wallets that could be linked to Russian oligarchs and officials.
Cryptocurrency security company Elliptic has been looking into the use of cryptocurrencies by Russia to evade the recent economic sanctions. It notes that there is a “real risk” of crypto being used by Russia to avoid sanctions and conceal wealth. It conducted data analysis and investigations to come up with some insights into this use, including potentially finding assets of sanctioned Russians.
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Sanctioned crypto wallets sniffed out
Elliptic first revealed that it identified 400 virtual asset service providers where rubles could be used to purchase crypto. It has been noted that, after news of the sanctions, there has been an uptick in ruble-based crypto purchases. Elliptic points out that most of these services are unregulated and allow anonymity.
But most importantly, the company directly linked over 15 million crypto addresses to “criminal activity with a nexus in Russia.” It also discovered several hundred thousand crypto wallets and addresses linked to Russia-based sanctioned actors. Lastly, it is actively investigating crypto wallets that could be linked to Russian officials and oligarchs who have been subject to sanctions.
Elliptic co-founder Tom Robinson said that the holdings amount to millions of dollars. He remarked on the use of crypto to hide wealth, dispelling some myths in saying,
“Crypto can be used for sanctions evasion. What’s in question is on what kind of scale. It’s not realistic that oligarchs can completely bypass sanctions by moving all their wealth into crypto. Crypto is highly traceable. Crypto can and will be used for sanctions evasion, but it’s not the silver bullet.”
Crypto remains a major talking point in the wider world
While cryptocurrencies have become increasingly common in public forums, with the recent Ukraine-Russia conflict, it has become even more so. There have been both good and bad narratives on crypto, and it has fuelled uncertainty around regulations.
Over $50 million in donations via crypto has poured into Ukraine, which Ukraine officials have celebrated. However, there is also the concern that Russians on the sanctions list are using crypto to avoid sanctions. This had led to large governing bodies to consider action, including the European Union.
And with 2022 looking like more regulation will arrive all across the world, recent events will certainly play a part. For the most part, however, it is good news, and the crypto market looks like it will have an official place in many country’s economies.
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