Coinbase suspends 25,000 Russian accounts allegedly linked to illegal activity

Coinbase has flagged thousands of questionable Russian crypto accounts and turned them over to the US government to help enforce sanctions.

Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) said it will block more than 25,000 crypto accounts linked to Russian holders allegedly involved in illegal activities. This was revealed by the leading American crypto exchange in a blog entry, and explained that it shared the flagged accounts with the US government to “assist in sanctions enforcement.” The explanation was:

“Today, Coinbase is blocking over 25,000 addresses associated with Russian individuals or entities that we believe are engaged in illegal activities, many of which we have identified through our own proactive investigations. Once we identified these addresses, we shared them with the government to further assist in sanctions enforcement.”

Additionally, Coinbase’s post also reiterated the crypto exchange’s willingness to comply with any future sanctions imposed. On Friday last week, the company’s co-founder and CEO, Brian Armstrong, stated that Coinbase had no plans to ban Russian users out of solidarity with Ukraine. According to Armstrong at the time:

“We believe that everyone deserves access to basic financial services, unless the law dictates otherwise… If the US government decides to impose a ban, of course we will comply with those laws.”

Coinbase doesn’t believe Russian account holders can use their addresses to evade sanctions

After the sanctions against Russia for waging war against Ukraine, the Russian financial system is beginning to buckle. Due to the collapse of the Russian ruble, citizens are turning to crypto to protect their interests. When asked if crypto could also help pro-government Russian oligarchs avoid sanctions, Armstrong asked to disagree. As Coinbase’s Chief Executive Officer put it:

“…we don’t think there is a high risk of Russian oligarchs using crypto to circumvent sanctions. Because it’s an open ledger, trying to sneak lots of money through crypto would be more understandable than using US dollar cash, art, gold, or other assets.”

According to experts, the refusal of Coinbase and other companies to boycott Russia is weakening Western attempts to alienate Russia from the world community.

Russia under international denunciation

Since its unprovoked attack on Ukraine on February 24, Russia has drawn the ire of the international community. Russian President Vladimir Putin and prominent officials are suffering from mounting backlash from some countries. Currently, the US government and its Western allies have imposed several financial sanctions on Russia. These range from the ousting of Russian banks from the SWIFT system to numerous companies closing their business on Russian soil.

Elsewhere, several Russians continue to bear the brunt of Moscow’s rashness. For example, governments around the world are banning international flights to and from Russia, leaving travelers stranded. At sporting events, Russian officials have been ostracized or asked to fly neutral flags at competitions. Those who do not comply risk being excluded from their respective fields of activity.

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Tolu Ajiboye

Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories down to the bare minimum so anyone, anywhere can understand them without too much background knowledge. When he’s not deep in crypto, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie buff. Coinbase suspends 25,000 Russian accounts allegedly linked to illegal activity

Caroline Bleakley

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