Over 25,000 Russian-linked Cryptocurrency Addresses Have Been Blocked by Coinbase
The Addresses Were Also Shared with US Authorities, as Coinbase Says.
Coinbase, a very well-known crypto exchange platform, has recently said in a statement that access to over 25,000 blockchain addresses linked to Russian individuals and entities have been blocked. All of the block addresses were also given to the US authorities.
During onboarding, Coinbase checks account applications against lists of sanctioned individuals or entities, including those maintained by the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, United Nations, Singapore, Canada, and Japan. To open a Coinbase account, individuals and entities must provide identifying information, including their name and country of residence. We screen this information via an independent vendor before permitting an individual to transact. If a customer lives in a sanctioned country or region, or if they are identified as a sanctioned individual or entity, they cannot open an account on our platform.
The embargo applies to penalty lists kept by governments around the world, including the US, the UK, the European Union, the United Nations, Singapore, Canada, and Japan.
Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer, Paul Grewal, also stated that attempts to circumvent the restriction are continually monitored and sanctioned actors are prevented to perform registering of new accounts on the platform.
Grewal also declared, according to the BleepingComputer publication, that
For example, when the United States sanctioned a Russian national in 2020, it specifically listed three associated blockchain addresses. Through advanced blockchain analysis, we proactively identified over 1,200 additional addresses potentially associated with the sanctioned individual, which we added to our internal blocklist. (…) Today, Coinbase blocks over 25,000 addresses related to Russian individuals or entities we believe to be engaging in illicit activity, many of which we have identified through our own proactive investigations.
This follows Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister, Mykhailo Fedorov’s request that all big crypto exchanges block Russian blockchain addresses. As the same publication mentions, the reason for this urge was to put more pressure on them and determine them to intervene in their government’s conflict in Ukraine.
I’m asking all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users.
It’s crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users.
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 27, 2022
Coinbase and other cryptocurrency exchanges, as well as Binance, said no to freezing all Russian accounts but have stated that they will abide by US and EU economic penalties placed on Russia.
Spokespersons representing Binance and Coinbase emphasized that while the crypto exchanges will not restrict all Russian accounts on their platforms, they will take action to discover and block all sanctioned businesses and individuals.
The reason Coinbase provided for implementing this decision was “economic freedom in the world”. On the other side, Binance promoted “greater financial freedom for people across the globe”.
What Is a Cryptocurrency Exchange Platform?
A cryptocurrency exchange platform is a digital marketplace where traders can buy and sell various cryptocurrencies. There are many crypto exchanges in the market. Some of the popular ones are Coinbase, Poloniex, Bitfinex and Kraken. Coinbase is an online platform that allows you to buy, sell and store Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and other digital currencies.