FTX’s, the popular crypto exchange, founder Sam Bankman-Fried shared his thoughts in an interview the messages from the cryptocurrency industry regarding sanctioned Russian entities. The 30-year-old CEO stated this at the Futures Industry Association Conference in Boca Raton, Florida.
“I’m very frustrated with the messaging that our industry has had on this,” he said. He added that it could be inimical to the entire industry’s growth because of how it could be perceived. “I think it has been basically anti-regulatory,” he added.
Since the start of the conflict, concerns have reached a fervent pitch that Russia could turn to cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions. To prevent this, high-ranking government officials like the Prime Minister of Ukraine have called on exchanges to impose a blanket ban against Russia. At the same time, Hilary Clinton expressed disappointment over the refusal of exchanges to impose a total ban.
However, Bankman-Fried has stated that his exchange has played its part by cutting off support for all sanctioned parties and ending all relationships with Russian banks. The blanket ban on Russian banks closed the windows of opportunity for entities to use FTX as a conduit for bypassing the sanctions. The exchange clarified that Russian users could still trade. Nevertheless, they are subject to high levels of anti-money laundering checks and the U.S. Treasury is notified about the activities in Russia.
The Stance Of Other Exchanges FTX
Crypto exchanges like Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken have stated that the imposition of an outright ban on Russian users is against the libertarian principles of blockchain technology. A Binance spokesperson said that the exchange was not “going to unilaterally freeze millions of innocent users’ accounts” while Coinbase CEO tweeted that it was his belief that “everyone deserves access to basic financial services unless the law says otherwise”
Binance has also stated that it will not accept the bank cards of sanctioned Russian banks, while Coinbase has blocked 25,000 Russian crypto wallets that have been suspected of affiliations with illicit activities.
Russian banks have been kicked off SWIFT, with popular payment platforms like Mastercard and Visa suspending their operations in the country. According to economists, these sanctions could shrink the Russian economy by as much as 5% while trade volumes between the Russian Ruble and the Bitcoin fall to new lows.
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