Some of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea reportedly joined the growing number of global sanctions against Putin’s regime by blocking IP addresses from Russia. Among those trading venues are Upbit, Gopax, Bithumb, and Korbit.
South Korea’s Sanctions to Russia
The list of embargoes imposed on Russia keeps enlarging as the latest example came from the biggest South Korean digital asset trading venues. According to a recent local report, Upbit – the nation’s largest crypto exchange by transactions – announced it will start rejecting withdrawal requests from Russian IP addresses.
“We’ve blocked subscriptions by users in countries which are at high risks of money laundering, in line with guidelines of the Financial Action Task Force,” the company added.
Another large platform undertaking such policy is Gopax. It not only barred IP addresses from Russia but also froze 20 accounts registered from Russian users. The other exchanges that halted their services to such customers are Bithumb and Korbit.
Unlike these Korean companies, Binance and Kraken vowed not to restrict servicing Russian-based users. The former emphasized that crypto provides “greater financial freedom,” and such a move could oppose the principles of the sector.
Jesse Powell – Kraken’s CEO – expressed a similar stance, opining that bitcoin is the embodiment of libertarian values. He said his company cannot freeze the accounts of Russian clients without a legal requirement. He also assumed that many of those users are likely to be against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Calling Upon Crypto Regulations Following the Sanctions
Some politicians and financial experts opined that imposing regulations in the cryptocurrency industry is more critical than ever as otherwise, Russia could employ the asset class to bypass the monetary penalties. Among those individuals are Christine Lagarde – President of the European Central Bank – and Hillary Clinton – former first lady of the United States.
The latter even said she is “disappointed” that some cryptocurrency trading venues refused to stop servicing Russian-based users:
“I was disappointed to see that some of the so-called crypto exchanges, not all of them, but some of them are refusing to end transactions with Russia for some philosophy of libertarianism or whatever.”
Clinton believes that everybody should do “as much as possible” to isolate the Russian economic activity and thus put pressure on Vladimir Putin. “I think the Treasury Department, I think the Europeans should look at how they can prevent the crypto markets from giving an escape hatch to Russia.” the politician concluded.