Several of South Korea’s largest crypto exchanges have been accused of blocking the country’s IP addresses and adding to the growing list of global sanctions against the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
GoPax, South Korea’s leading exchange platform, first announced on Thursday that it was blocking IP addresses from the country and freezing 20 accounts altogether.
Gopax has just signed a banking agreement in its real name with a local company, indicating that it may soon resume crypto-to-fiat trading.
GoPax announced that it was working “in compliance” with US Treasury and EU sanctions.
Snab from SoKor’s top crypto exchange
Upbit, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of transaction volume, has also announced that it will begin rejecting requests to withdraw from Russian IP addresses.
Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken all said they would not take such action on their own, saying it would be a “moral” violation.
In addition, the three largest cryptocurrency exchanges have announced that they will comply with existing regulations that prohibit flagged individuals from accessing financial resources.
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Jesse Powell, Kraken’s chief executive, said Bitcoin was a “symbol of the liberal concept”, adding that his company could not freeze Russian clients’ accounts in the absence of a legal order.
Powell also believed that a large section of these users would oppose Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
They have said they will abide by sanctions that force them to restrict Russia-based users if they are legally required to do so.
Stop the Russians
In addition, Bithumb, Coinone, Upbit, and Korbit have announced that they will impose restrictions on Russian addresses, citing their ease of use for criminal activities such as money laundering.
“In accordance with the policy of the Financial Action Task Force, we have suspended subscriptions from customers in countries with high risk of money laundering,” Upbit said in a statement.
As the situation unfolds, American lawmakers are debating ways to prevent Russians from accessing crypto – including proposals to ban the trading of currencies already bought with floating rubles.
These South Korean exchanges are the only licensed country to conduct cash-to-crypto trade. However, due to the ban, no South Korean Russian is now allowed to cash in their crypto holdings.
Meanwhile, despite Ukraine’s banking restrictions making fiat transactions increasingly problematic in the region, cryptocurrency transactions using Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH) as fiat currency have returned to fairly normal levels.
However, crypto trading involving the Russian ruble (RUB) on the cryptocurrency exchange was above their regular levels this week.
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Featured image from Forkast, chart from TradingView.com