Coinbase Decides To Blacklist And Restrict More Than 25.000 Russian Accounts

2022-03-08 00:37:36
Coinbase Joins The Sea Of Sanctions

After the initial statement that Coinbase won’t indulge in banning Russian customers, the leading crypto exchange decided to block and eventually blacklist more than 25.000 accounts as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Coinbase released an official statement in the form of a blog post, where the chief legal officer of the company, Paul Grewal, stated that the crypto exchange ‘is committed to complying with sanctions’.

Moreover, Grewal states that Coinbase condemns all acts of war and violence, and that the company supports the mounting global sanctions against Russia as a response to their actions.

In the past few weeks, governments around the world have imposed a range of sanctions on individuals and territories in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sanctions play a vital role in promoting national security and deterring unlawful aggression, and Coinbase fully supports these efforts by government authorities. Sanctions are serious interventions, and governments are best placed to decide when, where and how to apply them. Paul Grewal | Chief Legal Officer - Coinbase

Furthermore, Grewal states that due to the unique nature of blockchain and crypto and their ‘properties that naturally deter common approaches to sanctions evasion’, law enforcement agencies might have a problem with tracing the transactions’.

However, because the majority of blockchain platforms operate publicly, Grewal says that there is a way to monitor the transactions. In particular, that ‘analytics tools offer law enforcement additional capabilities’, when and if they are applied to data on the public blockchain.

Once recorded on the blockchain, transactions remain immutable. No one (not crypto companies, not governments, not even bad actors) can destroy, alter, or withhold information to evade detection. Paul Grewal | Chief Legal Officer - Coinbase
Monitoring Each Account

Furthermore, Grewal states that Coinbase will perform checkups whenever a new user registers with the crypto exchange, in order to determine the country of origin. Speaking on the consequences from the sanctions, Grewal assures that ‘Coinbase maintains a sophisticated analytics program to identify high-risk behaviour, study emerging threats and develop new mitigations’.

Consequently, Grewal reveals that after conducting the investigation and establishing that the accounts originate from Russia, Coinbase will share all information with the government, as a show of support of the sanctions. And that the decision of Coinbase to impose the sanctions is ‘maintained by the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, United Nations, Singapore, Canada and Japan’.

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. Once we identified these addresses, we shared them with the government to further support sanctions enforcement. Paul Grewal | Chief Legal Officer - Coinbase

After putting more than 25.000 Russian accounts on a blacklist, Coinbase officially joins a long list of companies that are currently imposing sanctions on Russia. Ever since the start of the conflict on February 24, more than 14 of the biggest brands and companies decided to stop offering their services to Russia and its citizens.

This list includes big names such as Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Renault, Mastercard, American Express, Visa, Ikea, Apple, Netflix, Shell, Exxon, BP, TikTok, Google, Nike, Meta (Facebook) and the latest member, Coinbase.

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