World’s biggest cryptocurrency Binance says it will not be freezing the account of its Russian users following a plea from the Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation.
On Sunday, the minister via tweets urged crypto platforms and social media companies to block Russian users, as part of efforts to win the fight with its attacker – Russia. “It’s crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians but also to sabotage ordinary users”, one of his numerous tweets read. Belarus is a Russian ally, hence the request to freeze their crypto accounts.
The reply from Binance came on Monday and the crypto giant said that it will not “unilaterally” freeze the accounts of its Russian users. According to a spokesperson, “We are not going to unilaterally freeze millions of innocent users’ accounts. Crypto is meant to provide greater financial freedom for people across the globe. To unilaterally decide to ban people’s access to their crypto would fly in the face of the reason why crypto exists”.
The company, however, assured Ukraine that it is “taking the steps necessary to ensure we take action against those that have had sanctions levied against them while minimizing impact to innocent users”, adding that “should the international community widen those sanctions further, we will apply those aggressively as well”.
What this means is that Binance only plans to block the accounts of individuals that appear on sanctions lists.
Other crypto exchanges also have their opinions on the crypto ban. The CEO of crypto platform Kraken said that the company “cannot freeze the accounts of our Russian clients without a legal requirement to do so”.
DMarket, a platform that gives people access to trade virtual in-game items, however, said via Twitter that it has halted “all relationships with Russia and Belarus due to the invasion of Ukraine”. Accounts from Russia and ally Belarus have been frozen and new registrations cannot take place.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government has raised more than $10 million worth of cryptocurrency via donations and cumulatively, the government and NGOs providing support for the military have raised more than $16 million.