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Singapore stops Russian cryptocurrency and NFT transactions

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TL;DR Breakdown

  • Singapore locks down Russian cryptocurrency and non-fungible token (NFT) transactions.
  • The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) releases new regulations.
  • The regulations prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

In response to Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, Singapore’s Monetary Authority (MAS) has declared imposing sanctions on the country, including the restriction of cryptocurrency and NFT trading. Cryptocurrency traders in Russia are under the spotlight, especially as the popularity of virtual assets grows.

In efforts to support international laws, the sanctions prohibit Singaporean banks, corporations, and companies from dealing and trading with Russian entities. MAS has advised Singaporean financial institutions to freeze the assets of multiple Russian banks, including VTB Bank, Promsvyazbank, Bank Rossiya, and Vnesheconombank. Singaporean companies are restricted from conducting cryptocurrency transactions with Russian entities associated with the government. 

The Singaporean government’s decision to implement financial sanctions against a nation has been the first in decades. MAS is imposing the sanctions without any assistance from United Nations Security Council.

More restrictions to be enforced

Rossiya has been removed from the SWIFT international payment system. As a result of the ban, the Rubel plummeted 30%. The US, UK, and European countries commenced sanctioning the federation weeks ago. Singapore is the only Southeast Asian country to start banning the invader.

Recently, Japan has announced that they are closely monitoring Russian cryptocurrency and SPFS settlements. The ongoing examination is an effort to verify the possibility of Russia depending on digital currencies as a way to avoid financial sanctions. In intention to protect the integrity of blockchain technology, Switzerland is in the works of suppressing access to digital assets that belong to any Russian individual or company.

Last Wednesday, GoPax, one of the largest digital assets exchanges in South Korea, has suspended Russian users by freezing the tokens of 20 accounts. Other local exchanges followed GoPax’s decision and have blocked Russian IP addresses from conducting cryptocurrency transactions. 

Despite the recent remarks from Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, the company has restricted 25,000 Russian accounts associated with illegal activities. Paul Grewal, CLO of Coinbase, mentioned in a recent article that the company uses sophisticated on-chain analysis to prevent threats. 

The Russian Federation is the third-largest nation in terms of cryptocurrency mining hash rate after the U.S. and Kazakhstan. The country has cryptocurrency investments worth $46.6 billion.

Ukraine receives millions of dollars in crypto

While Rossiyan-based cryptocurrency users may soon start to feel the effect of the sanctions, Ukraine is presently benefitting from cryptocurrency donations. The country has received a total of $54 million in Bitcoin and Ethereum in a week. Gavin Wood, the founder of Polkadot, donated around $5 million in $DOT. Mykhailo Fedorov, the Ukrainian vice prime minister, stated that the Ukrainian Crypto Fund aims to raise $100 million. The Ukrainian government has put in around $15 million on purchasing bullet-proof vests and a variety of other military equipment.

 
The Ukrainian ministry is partnering with multiple cryptocurrency companies to launch NFT artwork. In addition, Ukraine received donations through several NFT projects that aim to help individuals harmed by the war. An NFT of the Ukrainian flag has recently sold for 2250 ETH, equal to $6.75 million as per the day of writing this article.

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