The European Union (EU) has banned the supply of high-value cryptocurrency services to Russia as part of the latest round of sanctions in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
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The move prohibits deposits in crypto wallets – including the use of popular cryptocurrencies bitcoin, ethereum, BNB, XRP, cardano, solana and luna – and follows a warning from European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde that cryptocurrencies pose a “threat” to the bloc’s efforts to sanction Russia.
The price of bitcoin, ethereum, BNB, XRP, cardano, solana, luna and other cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed over the past 18 months, making them increasingly attractive for illicit use, even if they remain very volatile.
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EU will put ‘a ban on supplying high-value crypto-asset services to Russia’, European Commission announcementadding that “this will help fill in any potential gaps”.
The package is the fifth round of sanctions imposed on the country, which includes actions against banks, currencies and trusts, and will “further contribute to increasing economic pressure on the Kremlin and cripple its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine. “.
In March, the President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde warned bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were being used to evade sanctions, calling bitcoin and crypto exchanges offering services to sanctioned people “accomplices” in trying to evade them. The world’s largest crypto exchanges, such as Coinbase and Binance, quickly complied with the sanctions.
Europe and the United States have led an effort to impose crippling economic sanctions on Russian state-owned companies and banks in recent weeks, with the British government last month unveiling new powers to seize bitcoin and cryptocurrency. currencies.
Trading volumes between bitcoin and the Russian ruble hit a nine-month high following the country’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions. In February, Russia launched SWIFT, the world’s leading international payments network.
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Russian oligarchs and billionaires hit by severe financial restrictions were turning to bitcoin, a London-based lawyer said in March.
“The immediate problem they have is where they are going to move their money, they certainly don’t want to move it to Russia,” said Nigel Kusher, managing director of law firm W Legal. BBCwho works with several wealthy anonymous Russians.
“Some might buy bitcoin, it’s really tricky for them,” Kusher said, adding that it’s “the only option” for some Russian oligarchs and billionaires targeted by international sanctions. “No bank in the world except a Russian bank will touch you once you’re on the sanctions list, so where else could you put your money?”