TL; DR Breakdown
- Four major South Korean exchanges have begun to block Russian IP addresses.
- The Ukrainian and US government urged exchanges to block Russian users amid sanctions.
- Coinbase and Binance refused to outrightly block Russian users.
Four leading South Korean cryptocurrency trading platforms – Upbit, Gopax, Bithumb, and Korbit – have blocked Russian IP addresses from accessing their services, heeding to the calls from Ukraine and US government.
South Korean exchanges ban Russian users
A Korean news agency recently reported that the largest local exchange by transaction volume Upbit would begin to reject crypto withdrawal requests made from addresses belonging to Russian customers. “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,” Upbit wrote.
On Thursday, Gopax reportedly froze 20 accounts belonging to Russian users whilst banning IP addresses originating from the country. Bithumb and Korbit also joined the party to restrict Russian users from accessing cryptocurrency services.
Both the Ukrainian and US governments feared that Russia might turn to cryptocurrency to evade the sanction and monetary restrictions imposed on the nations amid the ongoing conflict with Ukraine. Hence, they urged several trading platforms, including Binance and Coinbase, to block addresses connected to Russian users.
Exchanges push back
Binance, Coinbase, and other major trading platforms pushed back the call, adding that it’s not entirely necessary to block all Russian population from using cryptocurrency. However, they will monitor and restrict flagged Russian politicians and addresses in compliance with the sanction. “We are not political, we are against war, but we are here to help the people,” says Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.
Meanwhile, the former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she’s disappointed that some exchanges are refusing to ban Russian accounts. She criticized the US government for not pressurizing exchanges.
“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, I don’t know, philosophy of libertarianism or whatever,” Clinton said.