Ukraine Vice PM Asks Major Crypto Exchange to Stop Servicing Russian Customers

Mykhailo Fedorov – Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine – has called on crypto exchanges to freeze all Russian users’ blockchain addresses to help Ukraine defend itself from Russia’s invasion.

  • In a tweet on Sunday, Fedorov emphasized the importance of both cutting off crypto access to Russian and Belarusian politicians, as well as “sabotaging ordinary users”.
  • The request follows a slew of sanctions against Russia from western allies, including freezing the assets of Russia’s four largest banks and reducing reliance on Russian oil exports.
  • Crypto is going center stage in the conflict, providing a vehicle of financial support to Ukraine, and potentially Russia. In October, Putin discussed using crypto as a means of payment “to transfer funds from one place to another” in the context of international trade.
  • Earlier this month, Bitcoin was used to bypass Canada’s financial restrictions prohibiting donations to the freedom convoy protest. While self custodial Bitcoin transactions successfully made it to the truckers, any funds connected to exchanges were red-flagged and frozen by court order.
  • Some view the Ukrainian Vice PM’s request as antithetical to crypto’s promise of universal access and neutrality, while others back the move for the help it could provide Ukrainian citizens.
  • Some in the crypto industry have explicitly picked a side in the conflict. On Friday, one of Ethereum’s largest mining pools stopped servicing Russian users to support Ukraine.
  • The Vice PM also supported a recent move from DMarket – an NFT and Metaverse platform – to freeze the accounts of Russian and Belarusian users. He’s similarly called on other major figures – including Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg – to quit colonizing Mars and creating the Metaverse to support Ukraine instead.
  • He asked that the latter ban Russian users from Facebook and Instagram as well.

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