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EU confirms a ban on providing crypto services to Russians

EU confirms a ban on providing crypto services to Russians
EU confirms a ban on providing crypto services to Russians

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The EU has been discussing the next step to take in order to address the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the primary idea being to ban Russians from accessing European crypto exchanges. With all previous sanctions, including the ban on sending money into the country or taking it out, many in Russia had to turn to digital currencies. Now, however, the European Union confirmed that it would expand the financial ban to include crypto services as well.

The EU decides to ban Russia from accessing EU-based crypto services

The new move comes in the wake of secession votes in as many as four Ukrainian regions, which the European Union declared to be nothing short of a “sham.” The bloc’s new move is to introduce the eighth set of political and economic measures against the invading country, which started getting implemented in February of this year after Russians made their move against Ukraine.

A crypto ban is not exactly new, as the EU already had something in place for digital currency exchanges. However, that original measure was simply a limitation preventing Russians from sending more than 10,000 EUR to European wallets.

As the EU Commission stated earlier today, the existing prohibition on crypto assets has simply been tightened to a point where all crypto asset wallets, accounts, and custody services are now completely denied to Russian users, irrespective of what amount is being transferred. The idea was first proposed last week, and after a lengthy debate, the EU governments decided that the move should be made.

The measures will also cap the price of oil that Russia can sell, and they were deemed necessary after Russia attempted to annex the regions of Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, Donetsk, and Kherson.

Russia bans OKX

Meanwhile, Russia has decided to block access to OKX, which is the world’s third-largest crypto exchange by volume. The move was made at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office, which was submitted on Tuesday.

Anyone who attempts to search the exchange’s domain will find that the website was blocked under article 15.3 of the country’s law on Information, Information Technologies, and Information Protection. The article was created to protect Russian citizens from false information, calls for extremist activity, and threats to financial organizations of the country, among other things.

However, no specific reason was listed for the move to ban the exchange. Interestingly, this is not the first exchange that Russia has banned. It previously blocked Binance’s website in June 2020, although Binance claimed that it never received any complaints from the country’s government. The exchange also was not informed of the fact that its domain was blacklisted, until three months after the fact.

The court’s explanation is that issuance and usage of BTC are completely decentralized, and as such, they cannot be regulated by the Russian government. This contradicts the local laws, hence the ban. However, Binance managed to overturn the ruling by January 2021.

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