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March 8, 2022updated 23 Mar 2022 9:56am

Coinbase blocks 25,000 Russia-tied crypto wallets

Understand the impact of the Ukraine conflict from a cross-sector perspective with the Global Data Executive Briefing: Ukraine Conflict

US crypto exchange Coinbase has blocked over 25,000 wallet addresses linked to Russian individuals or entities suspected of illicit conduct. 

The firm said that majority of the blocked addresses were identified via international investigations before the Ukraine crisis.

The identified addresses have been shared with the government to further support sanctions enforcement, Coinbase chief legal officer Paul Grewal said in a blog post.

This move is part of the firm’s multi-layered, global sanctions programme announced in line with global sanctions on Russia imposed by the US, the UK, European Union, United Nations, Singapore, Canada, and Japan.

As part of the initiative, Coinbase banned access for sanctioned individuals. The firm is also identifying addresses potentially linked to sanctioned actors, using blockchain analytics, to add to an internal blocklist. 

Grewal stated in the blog: “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.”

Last week, a report by Reuters said that crypto currency exchange Binance barred access to sanctioned individuals and stopped accepting cards of Russian banks hit with sanctions.

However, the firm said that it will not restrict access to ordinary Russian users.

Several other crypto exchanges, including Canada’s Coinberry, US-based Kraken Exchange, and KuCoin, are reportedly said to be holding back on the Russian user ban.

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