08 Mar 2022 Samantha McLauren
Coinbase Bans Over 25,000 Accounts Linked To Russians
The crypto sector may be a lucrative space for Russian citizens to evade the financial sanctions of the Western world. As CryptoBrowser already reported, Russians are more and more reverting to cryptos after Russian banks were banned from the SWIFT global payment network, which in turn tumbled the Russian ruble down.
However, crypto exchange CEOs expressed their doubts about the Russian crypto exodus, claiming that crypto adoption is still fairly low to become a method of dodging financial sanctions.
Nevertheless, one of the world’s leading crypto exchanges, Coinbase, became the first major crypto institution to impose a ban on over 25,000 accounts linked to Russians, which may have been undertaking illicit activity.
According to the exchange, sanctions play a vital role in promoting national security and deterring unlawful aggression, and Coinbase fully supports these efforts by government authorities.
Coinbase added that many of the illicit accounts “have been identified through our own proactive investigations," stressing that once identified, the wallet addresses were shared with governments “to further support sanctions enforcement."
To further add to the security aspect of Coinbase, the exchange noted that “when a user opens an account, it checks provided information against a list of sanctioned individuals or entities. Law enforcement authorities in the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, United Nations, Singapore, Canada, and Japan provide those entities to Coinbase. Also, the exchange blocks users from sanctioned areas such as Crimea, North Korea, Syria, and Iran.
The exchange updates the list of globally sanctioned people regularly, which further reduces the risk of sanctions evaders trying to mask their identities.
Meanwhile, Coinbase echoed Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao and his stance that crypto is not a viable option for sanctions evasion, since most of the biggest public blockchains are transparent and traceable. Coinbase went a bit further, explaining that public blockchains offer unprecedented visibility into the details of transactions, including information about the date and time of each transaction, the type of virtual asset transacted, the amount, the wallet addresses involved, and the unique transaction identifier.
The public nature of the blockchains allows data aggregation without the need for permission from multiple financial institutions, or to overcome transaction monitoring across multiple countries.
Another point in Coinbase’s analysis is that almost every transaction can be traced from its very first origin, especially on large-scale blockchains. “For example, Coinbase’s proactive on-chain analysis identified more than 16,000 addresses possibly associated with Iranian exchanges, many of which had not yet been identified by others. We used this analysis to strengthen our compliance systems and inform law enforcement in order to enhance industry-wide awareness.” the exchange added.
Interestingly, the exchange also believes using fiat currency, gold, or even art to be easier for sanctions evaders than to get around sanctions through the use of cryptocurrency.Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Exchanges News exchange cryptocurrency news crypto news Russia Sanctions