Coinbase Global Inc and Binance, two of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, rejected calls on Friday for a blanket ban on all Russian users to prevent their platforms from being used to circumvent Western sanctions.
By remaining in Russia despite the invasion of Ukraine, the two exchanges are diverging from mainstream finance in a way that some anti-money laundering experts and European regulators believe undermines Western efforts to isolate Moscow.
“We believe everyone deserves access to basic financial services unless the law says otherwise,” Coinbase Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong said in a series of tweets on Friday.
The exchange, on the other hand, would impose such a blanket ban if the US government decided to impose one, according to Armstrong.
“We will not unilaterally freeze the accounts of millions of innocent users,” a spokeswoman for Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, told Reuters in an emailed statement.
Both bitcoin exchanges have stated that they will abide by government sanctions.
Major cryptocurrency exchanges have been asked to prohibit their services in Russia in order to prevent sanctioned entities from storing their assets using cryptocurrencies. The exchanges, on the other hand, believe that they are well-equipped to prevent exploitation of their platforms.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the price of bitcoin has risen as people in those countries seek to keep and move money in anonymous and decentralised crypto.
Bitcoin has conflict currency credentials and has remained untouched by a recent decline in its much-touted potential as a safe-haven asset as a result of price movements that frequently reflect the larger market.
Some global corporate behemoths have taken more strident steps to sever ties with Moscow. Exxon Mobil announced that it would discontinue its oil and gas business in Russia, while Boeing Co has discontinued parts, maintenance, and technical assistance for Russian airlines.