The European Union is attempting to ensure crypto is included amongst the 27-nation bloc’s packages of sanctions on Russia and its oligarchs, says the French Finance Minister Bruno le Maire during a press conference.
Major exchanges already agreed to freeze accounts of those sactioned, but refused to follow Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov’s call to ban the accounts of all Russian and Belarusian clients. Several politicians like Hillary Clinton have opposed and slammed at the exchanges’ decision.
Many politicians, people of influence, authorities like The U.S. Department of the Treasury, and so forth, have focused on sharing a narrative that portrays crypto in a bad light amidst the Russo-Ukrainian war, but several of their arguments have been found to be misleading.
Bruno le Maire said on Wednesday that the European Union is “taking measures, in particular on cryptocurrencies or crypto assets which should not be used to circumvent the financial sanctions decided upon by the 27 EU countries.”
Several users still wonder how come the EU has the power to ensure these masures if “crypto is decentralized”: Exchanges are not and they must comply. However, P2P trading tells a different story.
Just like the U.S., the EU is not currently looking to force exchanges to ban all Russian users as many politicians have asked. But the “crypto offers Russia a pathway to bypass sanctions” narrative has been giving a misleading and refutable image to the public.
“The increase in value of some of these assets maybe a response to attempts to circumvent the sanctions. We are looking into this, but no decision has been taken,” said le Maire.
Why Politicians Whine
Zhao made a fair point stating that money laundering and the evasion of sanctions “is not a crypto-specific issue,” and added that “the essential things apply to banks and crypto at the same time. We’re following the same rules.”
Refuting The Anti-Crypto Argument
The general manager of RippleNet Asheesh Birla made a counterargument about why it may not be as easy as assumed for Russia to evade strict sanctions by using crypto.
The expert pointed out that, first, “crypto is only becoming more easily trackable by software and governments,” second “there simply isn’t enough global liquidity to support Russia’s needs (the country’s FX needs, not individuals)”, and also “on/off ramps are by and large regulated financial institutions that have to abide by OFAC laws.”
Birla claimed that the RippleNet team verified a statement made by the U.S. treasury department: “Russia conducts nearly $50B in FX transactions a day.” Being that bitcoin’s volume is usually between about $20B and $50B a day, Russian politicians’ needs would encompass BTC and more, said Birla.
He also pointed out that “the total average daily volume over the last month for BTC/RUB has been just $11M,” a number that is not nearly enough for the Russian regime to support their crumbling economy.