Wallet service provider blockchain.com has announced that it will begin to shut down accounts belonging to Russian nationals.
The announcement comes after the European Union (EU) announced more sanctions against Russia. Other exchanges, such as Binance, are also working to comply with the new sanctions, with the changes expected to hit within weeks.
Shutting Down Russian Accounts
Blockchain.com is the latest company to stop services to Russian nationals as it looks to comply with the latest sanctions announced by the European Union. According to a report, the wallet service provider has already notified its users that accounts belonging to Russian nationals will be shut down in two weeks.
The report also added that Blockchain.com will give Russian users time until the 27th of October, 2022, to withdraw their funds. If funds are not withdrawn by the date mentioned, they will be lost, with the accounts set to be blocked after. Blockchain.com has stressed that the company is currently prohibited from providing services, both custodial and rewards, to Russian citizens. The move is in line with the EU’s eighth batch of sanctions against the country.
Previously, the sanctions were not as far-reaching and only limited Russian-linked crypto payments to the EU to around $9700 or 10,000 euros. However, the latest batch of sanctions has put a blanket ban on cross-border crypto payments between Russian users and the EU.
Blockchain.com’s services are not limited just to custodial services, with the company also running a non-custodial wallet, allowing users to have complete control over their assets. The company has no access to the non-custodial wallet’s data. Additionally, the company also has custodial trading accounts, allowing users to purchase and sell crypto on the platform.
So far, it remains unclear if Russian users will be able to retain access to their non-custodial wallets on Blockchain.com. The company has so far not commented on the matter.
Other Platforms Also Halt Services
Blockchain.com is not the only platform that has suspended services to Russian users after the latest batch of sanctions. Other platforms include Dapper Labs, which has also suspended Russian accounts due to the latest EU sanctions. Other platforms and services include LocalBitcoins and Crypto.com, both of which are planning to restrict or suspend services to Russian nationals to comply with the sanctions. A spokesperson for Crypto.com stated that the company is fully compliant with EU sanctions.
LocalBitcoins halted services to Russian users on the 7th of October, 2022, stopping both trading and wallet services. The platform’s chief marketing officer, Jukka Blomberg, stated,
“As a result of the 8th EU-wide sanction package, we, unfortunately, have to restrict the Russian customers’ activity completely on the LocalBitcoins platform.”
Following the sanctions, Russian trading activity on LocalBitcoins has dropped to 8% of the total activity on the firm.
The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, is also working to apply the new restrictions that have come into force after the sanctions. A spokesperson for Binance stated that the exchange is working to enforce the sanctions,
“Changes like these take time to implement as we have to carefully coordinate with multiple tech and risk management partners.”
However, some exchanges, such as Tether’s sister firm, Bitfinex, were previously opposed to sanctions against regular users. Paolo Ardoino, chief technology officer at Bitfinex, stated,
“Our view is that the actions of a government do not necessarily represent the wishes of individuals.”
He further added that Bitfinex was willing to protect user accounts unless directed otherwise by regulatory authorities governing them.