The fifth package of EU sanctions imposes restrictions on the use of crypto wallets by Russians


Russian citizens still have the opportunity to open wallets for large amounts in other jurisdictions or use cold wallets, where it is not necessary to confirm citizenship, Kommersant reports.

One of the fundamentally new elements of the European financial sanctions against Russia was their extension to cryptocurrencies. So, Russian citizens are now prohibited from owning crypto wallets worth more than € 10 thousand. Earlier, the EU has already banned Russians from holding more than €100 thousand on bank accounts in participating countries. The fact that European countries see cryptocurrencies as an opportunity to circumvent their sanctions by Russia and Belarus has been talked about for a long time, the expert notes, and “some such decision was brewing.”

Restrictions on opening wallets, trading cryptocurrencies on the stock exchange and so on have already been introduced for Russians by small market participants on their own initiative. The position of major exchanges, in particular, Binance, Kraken, KuCoin and AAX, was that they could not freeze the accounts of Russian clients “without a legal requirement to do so.”

In early March, Coinbase blocked tens of thousands of wallets associated with Russian individuals who engaged in illegal activities. In mid-March, the Binance crypto exchange restricted the use of payment methods through sanctioned Russian banks on the Binance P2P platform.

Many jurisdictions popular with Russians, such as the UAE and Turkey, do not impose sanctions. However, many services voluntarily join the sanctions and without direct instructions. This usually happens if the market where sanctions are imposed is of interest to the company and is one of the main markets.

As an alternative, experts point to the possibility of storing cryptocurrencies on cold wallets such as Ledger and Trezor. The address that is created in cold wallets is not tied to any jurisdiction, which means it is impossible to trace who created it, a Russian or not At the same time, the expert adds, you can also withdraw cash from them in P2P services or on the over-the-counter market (OTC) without presenting documents.

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