The international sanctions against Russia that came into force on Feb 24 put crypto exchanges in rather a quandary.
In order to comply with the sanctions, the exchange companies are obliged to stop business operations in dollars and several other international currencies for Russian politicians, their families and major national banks. In the meantime, there have been requests from Ukraine to freeze all crypto accounts owned by Russian citizens.
If all Russian citizens were blocked, the crypto industry could lose important market (there are more than 17 million owners of crypto assets in Russia, making it the third-largest crypto market in the world, right after India and the USA).
The war in Ukraine puts the crypto industry in a hard situation for a number of other reasons as well.
Namely, there is a public fear that blockchain and cryptocurrencies, being an alternative and decentralized financial system, could be used by Russians to evade the sanctions as it would enable them to trade in crypto despite limitations elsewhere.
At the same time, some crypto exchanges are located in jurisdictions that are out of the current scope of sanctions, while others still don’t apply KYC procedures.
Since current sanctions don’t address crypto in particular, larger exchanges such as Binance continue trading as before. Coinbase and Gemini Trust Co. don’t operate in Ukraine and Russia, while Bitstamp, Coinmama, Bitpanda, and Huobi still didn’t articulate their official viewpoint on the matter.